By: Christine Arsenault
In response to the article in The Page, published Jan. 28, “Schools need to do more to help their student athletes”; athletes in schools aren’t the only people who need extra time to study. Although it’s a good point that sports, AP and honors classes take up an extensive amount of time, especially if a student takes part in all three, there are also school clubs, and students with jobs, who are struggling to keep up their academic performance.
If some athletes are striving for a study period for only themselves, are they also sympathetic toward others who take part in time consuming activities?
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) states on their web site that: “secondary school students should have a minimum of 990 hours of structured learning time. Time which a student spends at school breakfast and lunch, passing between classes, in homeroom, at recess, in non-directed study periods, receiving school services, and participating in optional school programs shall not count toward meeting the minimum structured learning time requirement for that student (MGL 603 CMR 27.00 section 27.04 ¶ 2).”
If a study hall were to be instituted, students could have a non-directed study period, but it would also take away from in-class time, which could shorten classes, thus offering less time to cover the curriculum.
The math for each school year with a minimum of 189 full days, for students in Massachusetts, would have a total of 992 hours and 25 minutes of structured learning, not including 25 minutes of passing time, 20 minute lunches and 15 minute advisory/SSR time. This leaves 5 hours and 25 minutes of learning; students would barely make the minimum time for the required seat time. If DESE decided there was going to be a study period during the school day, they would have to compromise the hours by making school days longer or shortening classes or extending the amount of days students are in school. Remember, study halls don’t count toward the minimum 990 hours of learning required.
If a study period were to be offered, it should be open to all students, but it would take a lot of planning time to make it work while still having school end at an appropriate time in June.