Finally, after sitting in class all day listening to lecture after lecture, solving equations, constantly using your mind, you get to go to study hall, the one class where you can decide what to do and how well you will use this time.
This year Cotter schools made an uprising adjustment when it came time to register for next year’s classes. Cotter decided they would be changing their practice of students registering for study hall when they complete their course application.
Now cotter is offering an academic resource hour available only by application. “ The general idea is that students who need additional time and support during the school day would qualify as well as any student who is taking a PSEO or online class, and per requirements of those programs, needs a reduced load during the school day,” said Mary Fitch
While study halls are a time to complete homework some teachers and staff at Cotter do not feel students are using this time well. “I think over 50% of the students use their study hall time wisely.” as Mary Hansel Parlin said.
The abuse of this time by some students was a large factor in the decision to eliminate study halls. Many other teachers made comments about students not using their study hall, “Several teachers commented on students being on their phones, having no work to do or refusing to do work they had, sleeping, talking the whole hour,” Fitch said.
The effectiveness of study hall varies not only from student to student but also between the different study hall periods. The effectiveness of study hall also depends on the study hall supervisor. Some teachers make students work and be quiet during their study hall while other teachers are not as strict and allow study hall to become a social hour.
Study hall is a time during school where busy students can start their homework while still in class. It offers a break in the school day where students can check off some of the homework in their sab. Cotter students are involved in many activities most of which take place before or after school or sometimes both. For a busy student, study hall might be the only time before 9:00 p.m. they get to look at their homework. The elimination of study hall may make many students take on another class overwhelming them even more.
Many students were very upset with the elimination of study hall especially older students who were hoping to have a study hall for their senior year of high school. “Seniors use their study hall to work on college applications and their capstone project” Maddie Kohner said.
To accommodate for the elimination of study halls Cotter has added some new electives for students to take. “Many elective courses do not add a significant amount of outside homework for students, and if students manage their time well, these classes will provide new and engaging learning experiences,” Fitch said.
These new electives could be good opportunities for Cotter students “I think many students and teachers would like to offer more electives. Electives will happen if students sign up for them!” said Parlin.
Another accommodation made at cotter is the preserving two flex periods a week for work time for students. “ I think that two or three FLEX periods each week adds more time for study halls. I also know that as a teacher I, and many others, offer time in class to begin or to work on projects.” Mary Hansel Parlin said.
The main goal of academic resource hour is to keep study halls for the students who truly need this extra time for help while encouraging those who do not use their study halls to take another class instead of wasting an hour. While many students are disappointed about the elimination of the study hall, many teachers and staff feel this will encourage students to take more electives benefiting students in the long run.
The elimination of study hall will be a transition for many Cotter students to adapt to next year, but only time will tell what changes this new policy will create in the Cotter Community.