Evaluating freshmen study hall

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Since the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, Study Hall has been a mandatory class for Grade 9. In past years, a class called Foundations was required, however, the current Advisory program now takes it place. Study Hall provides Grade 9 students structured time to organize themselves.

The Study Hall block is scheduled twice a cycle, alternating with Physical Education. Director of Student Life James Perry believes the main purpose of Study Hall is to give Grade 9 students time management skills. “We just want to ensure that freshmen get off on the right track and maybe learn some of these time management techniques on their own, so by the time you’re in Grade 10, you have more free time and you are able to handle that free time maybe more productively,” Perry said.

The decision to keep Study Hall as a Grade 9 class was made last year when the students were given a survey. Grade 9 Dean Jennifer Craig sent a survey which asked students two questions: “Do you want to keep Study Hall?” and “do you need Study Hall?” Many students stated that they needed it for study time and many parents agreed it was a necessary class.  “I think the point was, there is a space and time to just help you organize a little better with somebody in the room to help you and to formalize that you use your time well,” Craig said.

Anna Heinrich (’20) believes that Study Hall is a beneficial class as she is able do homework and meet with teachers. “I do think it helps us use our time wisely and again sometimes you just have those days where, even if you do your homework the night it is assigned but still have too much work, instead of going to bed two hours later that day, you can get it done in Study Hall,” Heinrich said.

She believes that whether or not Study Hall is useful depends on the type of student. “You have those kids who do absolutely nothing in Study Hall and just watch television for an hour, and then you have those kids who use it to get their work done,” Heinrich said.

Anabelle Pinkston (’19) believes that Study Hall would be more beneficial for a Grade 10 student. “I would’ve liked to have been able to take PE and health for a full year in Grade 9, so I wouldn’t have to take it this year and I could possibly have an extra elective. I think free time is more important in Grade 10,” Pinkston said.

Nils Skattum (’17) had Foundations instead of Study Hall during his freshman year. “I think the important thing about Foundations was it was the starter class for building the person you wanted to be in high school, by having the interactions you wanted to have, and practicing through that class,” Skattum said.

The goal of Foundations was for Grade 9 students to understand the appropriate skills and building blocks to be successful in high school. “It was almost advisorial in nature, kind of like an advisory for 9th graders,” he said. “With the combination of Study Hall to give the Grade 9 students some structured free time to stay up on their studies, and then advisory which we are starting to differentiate within each grade, I think we felt that accomplished the same thing,” Perry said.

With his introduction to the High School, Skattum said he enjoyed the Foundations class and has been friends with people he met there ever since. Skattum believes that Foundations was a more valuable use of time and Study Hall isn’t necessary in Grade 9.  “The reality is freshmen year is difficult, there is some work, but I think it is manageable,” he said.

Heinrich thinks Study Hall has been a valuable use of her time and she appreciates having the class this year. “Seeing how much I need Study Hall and how much it has helped me, I think that [Study Hall] has made me more aware of how I could use my time,” Heinrich said.

The administration believes that Study Hall has been a success and should continue for the next year. “Anecdotally, from what I hear, it seems as though Study Hall is useful and productive time spent,” Perry said. “Right now there are no plans to change it.”

Written by Staff Writer Maddie Sayre