They say time to do work in school is needed but principal committed to eight-class schedule
A handful of parents and students told the School Board this month that a study hall should be added to Cedar Grove-Belgium High School’s block schedule.
This is the first year the school implemented the new schedule, in which four 85-minute classes alternate every other day. Study halls are not available.
The schedule does, however, have a Rocket Block at the end of each day for 35 minutes that allows students to study and teachers to work with students who need extra help.
Some parents and students claim Rocket Block doesn’t allow enough time to study and that replacing study hall with an extra class is too stressful.
“A lot of kids can’t handle eight classes,” parent Jennifer Meerdink said.
Parent Carrie Kraus said while she understands “kids should learn time management,” the lack of a study hall increases class size of electives like foods.
Student Caleb Sells presented the School Board with research he has done about the brain. Downtime, he said, helps regain students’ attention spans.
“Relaxation with the brain is very, very good,” Sells said. “I’m advocating for a study hall.”
Student Abby Kraus became emotional in telling the board she has to work hard for her grades and can’t handle the stress of eight classes along with extracurricular and other activities. Without a study hall, she said staying up late at night is the only option to get her work done.
Student Ethan Wonser said Rocket Block isn’t effective at the end of the day to work on challenging subjects like math.
Board President Chad Hoopman said it’s the board’s policy not to respond to public comments, but the board listens to input.
“Please do know your information is heard and received,” he said. “We know it’s the first year (of the block schedule).
Principal Josh Ketterhagen said he understands eliminating 46-minute study halls was a significant transition.
“Change is hard. Study halls were part of the culture,” he said.
Ketterhagen said he is open to moving Rocket Block to another time of day.
“We’re continuing to look at the data we got this year. If it’s not effective, we’re going to move it,” he said.
One reason Rocket Block was put at the end of the day, he said, is because student athletes in spring sports sometimes leave school early for competition. Ketterhagen said he would rather they not miss classes.
Area schools running a block schedule such as Ozaukee and Reedsville put their versions of Rocket Block at the end of the day, Ketterhagen said. Random Lake, Oostburg and Howards Grove do not.
Cedar Grove-Belgium this month began allowing students to spend Rocket Block time in the library or cafeteria two days per week, Ketterhagen said.
But adding a study hall isn’t in the plans.
“An 85-minute study hall for a break is hard for me to swallow,” Ketterhagen said. “But we will always talk to students one-on-one about their needs.”
Ketterhagen said any schedule changes will be based on data.
“We’ll always make decisions based on purpose. One of the biggest things we heard coming out of that meeting was a break,” he said.