Study halls would help forge happier halls

The Southerner

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By Gracie Griffith

The middle of a school day usually finds me scrambling around in Spanish or Personal Fitness, trying to quickly finish other teachers’ assignments. I usually don’t get home until around 9 p.m. on weeknights, so I have to use every opportunity of free time during the day to complete homework. Yesterday, I wished for the hundredth time, for a period of study hall. “Why can’t we be like a normal school and have study breaks,” I thought angrily.

As Grady students, we are oftentimes swamped with hours of homework and reading assignments. Sometimes, students are forced to stay up late at night to rush to complete work because they simply don’t have enough time to finish it. It becomes a vicious cycle because students are then tired at school the next day and are less productive.

Also, something many teachers fail to consider when they assign homework is that students may not have the appropriate home environment or resources to complete assignments. Materials such as computers and reference books need to be available for students who do not have access to them at home. Students also would benefit if they were able to ask teachers or tutors academic questions. This could prove invaluable because we would have the opportunity to talk to our teachers before their assigned work was due.

An effective way to decrease student workloads and provide these benefits would be to add study hall/ break to our daily schedules. The amount of time for this period would not have to be overly long. Currently, Grady doesn’t give students any break time other than a meager 30- minute lunch period. This is hardly enough time to eat, much less to do homework. Thirty minutes to an hour of this break time would more than suffice. A break like this is necessary to keep students’ minds focused and active. This could be achieved by shortening each class period by 7½ to 15 minutes.

Most other high schools, including many public schools, offer a block of study hall. Woodward, Lovett, Westminster, Pace Academy, Redan, and Columbia all are schools relatively close to Grady that give students a free work period. Redan and Columbia are public schools, while the other four are private. This period of study hall is used productively to complete work and to receive help of assignments from teachers and tutors.

If we had study hall at Grady, it would allow us to get ahead on our homework. In fact, the Statesboro Public School System reported a 5 percent increase in math EOCT scores after implementing a tutor/ study hall hour into middle and high schools. The same improvement could happen here at Grady. Study hall may even be able to increase GPA as well as test scores.

I know Grady and APS do not usually favor large scheduling changes or changes of any kind, for that matter. However, the addition of study halls would benefit the students here greatly. The benefits of study halls have already been seen in other school systems. A small reduction in class time is a small price to pay for a much needed study break for Grady students. I know that the addition of study hall would give me the opportunity to get my work done in a timely fashion. Personally, I know I will also feel less rushed with assignments and more willing to participate in those Spanish PowerPoints and sports during gym class.

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