Use extra 30 minutes as a study period at North Atlanta High School

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My name is Clarke Peoples and I am the junior class president at North Atlanta High School and a Year 1 IB DP student. I've started this petition in order to propose a useful way to spend the additional 30 minutes that will be added to the school day from January 29th to March 1st. 

It would be beneficial to students and teachers if we turned the extra 30 minutes at the end of the school day into a study/tutorial period. This would be a half hour period in which students can work on school assignments or projects, visit teachers for a mini tutorial period if they need help with an assignment, collaborate with other students on group projects, or use school technology and resources that they would otherwise not have access to. 

The following list outlines the benefits to all Warriors if we were to have this period:

  1. Homework Help/Tutorial: Many teachers only offer tutorials on specific days and sometimes even have to cancel those limited tutorial days if they have emergencies to tend to after the regular school day. Also, students may need help with a simple homework assignment before the next class period it is due and the day that they need this brief instruction may not fall on a designated tutorial day. With this unique period of complete access to teachers during the school day, students would be able to get the help they may need without worrying about whether or not tutorial is being offered on that specific day.
  2. Access to Technology & Resources: Many students at North Atlanta don't have access to the reliable computer or internet access at home that is often required for the completion of school assignments. Students shouldn't be punished for their lack of resources or have to have their grades compromised because they simply cannot access or afford these resources. If we had this study period, these students would be able to access technology in their classrooms or in the media center and other supplies in order to complete their assignments before the due date.
  3. Help with IAs, EEs, or MYP projects: All sophomores and hundreds of juniors and seniors have cumulative projects that they are required to work on throughout the school year. The deadlines for many of these projects fall around the date that the 30-minute day addition would end and these next two months are the "crunch time" period. If these students had a period at the end of the day where they could work on these assignments and meet with their school advisers, rather than waiting until the next advisement day or meeting with them during another teacher's instructional time, the quality of projects turned in would naturally increase.
  4. No Schedule Change Needed: Administrators already have a lot to deal with and overwhelming responsibilities at NAHS. By simply adding the 30 minutes at the end of the day for a study period, administrators would not have to change the schedule at all. The 3:45 bell that marks the end of the school day would now simply signify the beginning of the study/tutorial period. Administrators wouldn't have to change the bell schedule and students wouldn't have to memorize another schedule: it's a win-win.
  5. Additional Planning Period: On days where students don't need help, teachers would get an extra 30 minutes during their work day to plan future lessons or grade papers. This one is obviously a benefit to all teachers and shows how this proposal would not only benefit the students, but those who teach us as well.
  6. Greater Impact with a Consolidated 30-Minute Period: The alternative to my proposal would be adding a few extra minutes here and there to each class period. After doing some basic math, you will find that this only adds approximately 7 minutes to each class period. This minute amount of time will have less impact on instruction than a consolidated half hour period designated for study or tutorial would. 
  7. Study Seminars?: The original idea for this extra time was to allow teachers to make up the instruction lost over the recent break due to inclement weather. By law we are not required to make these days up, but I do agree that teachers need extra time to put their students back on track for their lesson plans. A great way to use this study period would be to offer "seminars" that students can attend if they feel a little shaky on a certain topic. Whether that is a short recap on the 'Causes of the Spanish-American War' in history or 'Completing the square' in math, teachers could offer these seminars during the study period and students could choose to attend the ones that they need the most.

 

Although some of these benefits are specific to North Atlanta, study periods have been shown to be effective through many studies conducted throughout the years.

In 2008, the Institution of Education Services published a study that showed an increase in homework completed among a group of students who benefitted from a study hall period, compared to students who did not. If this were applied to North Atlanta, grades could improve significantly and the homework incompletion rate could experience a steep decrease. 

This was evidenced at Cantrell Sacred Heart of Mary High School in Montebello, California when they tested out a study period at their school. Within just a few months, the principal reported a rise in average GPA of half a point and an increase in honor roll students from 32% to 50%. 

 

Because this timing change will take effect in the next few days, a solid implementation proposal is crucial. I suggest that students return to their advisement class at the end of the day in order to meet with students of their same program (if they are in IB) or for sophomores, to meet with their MYP Project advisors. If this will cause too much conflict with monitoring the halls during transition, then students can obviously stay in their fourth period class and migrate to the classrooms of teachers or other students they may need to meet with before the end of the day.

 

If you agree with my stance on making great use of this extended school day, pease sign this petition! It will be delivered to the North Atlanta administrative team as soon as possible. 



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