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Study halls have returned, sort of PDF Print E-mail
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Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 15:57

High school implements after-school sessions that move start times for extracurricular activities to 3:30

Months of continued debate over the elimination of high school study halls has led Cedar Grove-Belgium to offer sessions after school.
Forty-minute sessions from 2:50 to 3:30 p.m. began this month, with teachers taking attendance and supervising the students.
The study sessions are not mandatory, but students are encouraged to use the time for support, Principal Josh Ketterhagen told the School Board on Oct. 11.
All teachers must be available to students during the time, unless they are in a meeting. Teachers will continue to make themselves available before school for students seeking help as well.
The sessions require that all after-school activities not start before 3:30 p.m.
The school added the sessions after the School Board discussed study halls last month. The 46-minute sessions were eliminated last year with the adoption of a block schedule, which has four 85-minute classes held on A days and a different four courses on B days.
In spring, several parents and students addressed the board and requested study halls return, citing increased stress and workload from being required to take an extra class.
At that time, Ketterhagen said an 85-minute study hall would be hard for him to support.
During the discussion on increasing the number of credits to graduate at an August School Board meeting, Ketterhagen said he thought the issue of bringing study halls back was out of the picture.
But the board again discussed study halls in September.
“There are kids that I believe need that study time,” board member Nancy Niebauer said. “I just wonder if taking the hard stance — no study halls whatsoever — is sending the right message.”
Ketterhagen agreed to float the idea of the after-school sessions.
The sessions became one of three priorities to better focus on academics developed from a high school staff meeting, Ketterhagen said in a report to the board.
Among the other priorities were better utilization of Rocket Block, a 35-minute common time held at the end of each school day. Less time will be used for student meetings, and no additional announcements will be allowed after the regularly scheduled ones.
“In general, (we’re) just really focusing on that academic purpose,” Ketterhagen told the board.
School Board president Chad Hoopman said he wants to see how many are attending the after-school study sessions.
“I’d be very interested to see the roll call,” board president Chad Hoopman said. “I bet by Jan. 1 everybody will be using their Rocket Block time.”
High school staff will also continue to discuss the purpose of homework and how much is appropriate, he said in the report.

 
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