Seven period school days would not work for South

Seven period school days would not work for South

Alex Boutrous, Business Manager

“I am completely against it,” senior Genna Novodvorsky wrote in an email. The idea of adding a 7th period to our current school day has sparked controversy between students and teachers alike. One proposed schedule would shorten every period to 47 minutes, cutting almost ten minutes off each class period. A seven period day would add on to many student’s already demanding course loads.

“Many of us… use the opportunity to take a [zero] hour just to finish credits,” continued Novodvorsky. Ideally, having a 7th period in our school day would cut down on zero hour classes (or even eliminate them) because students would be able to take classes like health and gym in school.

“I do think it would really help [having a 7 period school day],” commented junior Carly Eckstrom, “I think they would do a lot for the arts… there are a lot of kids who are trying to get things done… who would still be participating in music classes, band, orchestra, painting, drawing…who can’t now because they’re fulfilling their graduation requirements.”

Eckstrom is a three season varsity athlete completing a full and rigorous course load at South. Like many students in her situation, trying to fit in online classes is a challenge with her busy schedule. Similarly, for students involved in theater, there is “a very limited time window in which to produce a show,” described Novodvorsky. Seventh period might seem like a solution, but it would cut into that time just like online classes because students would have more coursework.

It could also make it more difficult for AP and CIS classes to thoroughly cover the course material if classes were shortened. I have taken both formats since coming to South and it was often difficult to cover everything even with the hour of instruction we have.

“I like the idea of the seven period day in general, but for this particular school I don’t think it’s appropriate,” agreed social studies teacher Richard Nohel. “We will lose a significant amount of time in our core classes and with AP classes it’s absolutely not acceptable. We’ve already got a lot of drains on our time… it’s just not really workable in the way that I’ve seen it.”

During my freshman and sophomore years I attended a school with an eight period school day, and an additional “X” period between second and third periods. X period served primarily as a time for school assemblies and student groups such as student council and dance committee to meet. Instead of school groups like politics club, GSA, and quiz bowl meeting after school, they used X as a time to meet weekly.

Having eight (or nine with X) periods in our day helped students take art, gym/health, and be involved in student groups while also playing sports or being in theater. However, by having so many classes we lost a lot of instructional time because our classes amounted to around 40 minutes. This loss was especially apparent in the sciences. Labs were either very basic or required several days to complete. In all classes, tests rarely covered all the course material, normally focusing heavily on only one section.

Seven plus period school days are a nice idea in theory, but is it worth losing time in core classes? “I really value class time and spending that time with my teachers in classes that matter,” said Eckstrom. Eckstrom is not alone in her feelings. I would appreciate not having to choose between an artistic elective and health or gym, but my success in challenging core courses is reliant on the full 55 minutes of class time. I feel that a seven period school day would not work well for South students in the long term.