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New Study Hall System Revisited: Pushing Students or Punishment?

Shandi Thomas, Student Journalist and Editor

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The study hall change made in the late 2016-2017 school year brought many changes as June approached. 52 more students were passing classes, compared to when it was first instituted. But kicking off the 2017-2018 school year, the number of failing grades has increased from last year.

The first few days of September annually bring new changes and challenges to the classroom once school is back in session. This change however, took effect in the last semester of the 2016-2017 school year.  

Students in grades 9-12 were divided into two groups; students who had at least one D or F, and those who didn’t. Those who had a D or F were placed in a regular study hall, and those who had C’s and above were now placed in an Honors study hall.

Mr. Kloehn, a math teacher at RHS stated, “I was one of the teachers on a small committee that decided to make this change. At the time, I had a small study hall and over half of them were failing at least one class. And to me as a teacher, I’d encourage them to work, but there really wasn’t much of a motivator for them.“

This study hall was implemented in order to motivate the students. According to the 2016-2017 grade reports, 357 students had at least one D or F as of April 8th. But by the June 9th grade check, only 302 students had failing grades.  

Last school year, the data did show quite a difference. However, this year the data isn’t showing the same gains as last year.

As of the first grade check on October 4th, 313 students had a D and/or F in at least one class. As of the December 4th check, the number was up to 318 students, which is 16 more students that had failing grades compared to the end of last year.

“If we see the trends aren’t going the way we want to, then we’ll make a change,” Kloehn stated.

With a change now under discussion, students and staff alike are questioning the productivity of the split up study halls.

Mr. Nelson, a global studies and psychology teacher at RHS, gave his thoughts.

“I don’t think they’re really all that productive,” Nelson stated. “[Regular study hall] takes time and effort and in the midst of the daily grind, it doesn’t alway get its full attention.”

“The one suggestion I would have would be to flip it.” Nelson said. “To have the regular study hall go to the LMC, and then honors is split amongst the teachers. That way, someone who doesn’t have a full teaching plate could spend a little more time and effort on those students.”

Nelson isn’t the only one to have this idea. Many students and staff feel that placing those in regular study halls is seen as a punishment for not doing well. Others feel that this is a consequence to not doing their work.

Some students, like RHS sophomore, Ali Jankowski say, “It depends on the person, I think.”

Regardless of opinion, the data for the 2017-2018 school year shows there’s a slight increase in student failure. Now, it’s time to find a solution or a way to improve the system RHS already has in place.

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