Helping stress levels through alternative scheduling

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Helping stress levels through alternative scheduling

As enrollment time approaches, students are often faced with choosing more work than the graduation requirements demand.

As enrollment time approaches, students are often faced with choosing more work than the graduation requirements demand.

As enrollment time approaches, students are often faced with choosing more work than the graduation requirements demand.

As enrollment time approaches, students are often faced with choosing more work than the graduation requirements demand.

Emma McCabe, Memorial Staff Writer

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Several districts nationwide have found ways of giving high school students some respite from the typical six hour, five days a week schedule that frequently involve work, extracurriculars and family time. This can include ‘Late Start Wednesdays,’ four day weeks, once a week half-days or a homeroom hour that only requires attendance and doesn’t assign work.

Some schools even offer free hours to leave campus, to work on classwork or even to catch up on sleep though those are few and far in between.

The least extreme of these, ‘Late Start Wednesdays,’ might not seem like very much to those not involved in any high school, however to teachers and students alike just one extra hour each week dedicated to sleeping in or various school work can make all the difference in someone’s attitude about their week.

Just a of the few districts that have implemented this program within Oklahoma are Muskogee, Deer Creek, Broken Arrow, Putnam City, Shawnee and Hilldale. Because this is up to the districts, students and teachers are only left to wonder why Edmond Public Schools (EPS) hasn’t begun providing this to their students considering the numerous amount of districts around the state who have implemented it with successful results.

Because of Oklahoma’s minimum requirement for six hours within a school day and at least 1,080 hours per school year, a free hour or half-days appear to be out of the question. Yet these minimums depend on what grade students are in and which state they live in, which means they aren’t fixed by federal law.

Many other states do not have a strict daily hour requirement for high schoolers nor do they have the same required total yearly hours. Arizona has the lowest for high school with only 720 required, followed by Alaska and Florida at 900 and Idaho, New Hampshire, Utah, Virginia and Pennsylvania at 990. Some states even list the requirement for seniors lower than that of ninth through eleventh grade, in order to give seniors more time to focus on professional and college preparations.

Those that do not have such flexible scheduling opportunities are faced with a predicament by the time they finish their junior year. Within EPS, many juniors who begin enrolling come to the startling realization that for their senior year they really only need two to three more credits to achieve graduation requirements.

However, because of the minimum length school day, they must fill a six hour schedule. This leaves them with three to four unneeded classes and the class work to go along with each one.

Such wasted time might be better taken if combated with the small difference of ‘Late Start Wednesdays’ or better yet, seniors could be given more opportunities to avoid taking classes they do not need nor even want.

Though EPS does have wonderful concurrent opportunities and even offers for two hours to be dedicated towards an internship, concurrent does not solve the issue of how unnecessarily long a school day is for these senior and the internship is only one semester and is not even advertised on the Edmond High Schools’ websites. One has to search for it within the EPS High School Course Description Handbook.

Some might say that because the minimum hours are state requirements and not up to individual districts, drastic changes in scheduling are not meant for districts to be in charge of. Though, as several found out last year through the walkout, EPS builds up several extra days throughout the school year that are unnecessary.

Of course if at the end of the year these hours were not used, then they could be taken off of the yearly schedule and school could be released into summer break earlier. Though this is not guaranteed every year and if EPS has those extra hours then they would be better utilized in ways similar to that of districts around us which at the very least means ‘Late Start Wednesdays.’

Contact Emma McCabe at [email protected].

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