Does the school schedule need to be changed?


Draft for block schedule proposed for Fall 2020

Hannah Hojnacki, hour 2

When your alarm goes off in the morning do you dread getting out of bed? Driving to school at 7am knowing you’re not going to be focused, because all you can think about is getting home and sleeping? The SPASH school schedule needs to be adjusted to help better student’s health and education. 

 Sleep Deprivation 

Sleep deprivation can affect a person more than you think it does. According to Harrison Wall, a business strategist and sleep analyst says, “A lack of sleep hurts brain function and development, and students who get more sleep have better memory and learning capabilities.” As a result the lack of sleep affects the development and functions of the brain is really concerning. Schools are making kids get up early in the morning when some students don’t sleep enough due to randomly waking up, or they have after school jobs that they attend late at night.  A 2018 study found that school districts who pushed start times from 7:50 am to 8:45 am had students getting slightly higher grades than they were before the change,” says Wall. Changing the time has affected kids’ test scores and grades to be better. This shows that just that extra 30 minutes or hour of sleep can have a big impact on how you feel throughout the day and greatly affect how you function in school.

How SPASH students see our schedule

How do SPASH students feel about the school schedule? I conducted a survey with results from 47 SPASH students. The first main question that was asked was “what time do you think school should start?” Out of the 47 survey results, 57.4% of students said we should have the start time as 8:30, as 14.9% students said we should keep it the same. This shows many kids disagree with the current start time and feel if we start school later they would be less drained throughout the day. With most students thinking school should start later, I followed up with the question “do you feel like you get enough sleep throughout the week?” 72.3% of students agreed with the question that they don’t get enough sleep throughout the week. I also agree with this question that I don’t get enough sleep. I feel as if I speak for everyone, most kids are sleeping during class or moping around because they can hardly keep their eyes open throughout the day. All 47 students responded yes to the question “Do you feel like it’s harder to stay focused in class when you’re tired?”  Research shows how draining getting through a school day can really be, when you’re tired all you can think about is getting more sleep. That causes a student to lose focus on what’s going on in the classroom. Lastly, I asked how SPASH students felt about our Wednesday schedule that we have in place because of an advisory. Out of the 47 responses, many people have the same responses, the biggest response is that they really enjoy the late start and they feel like they are actually able to get more sleep the night before and they would like every day to have the late start. One person said they enjoy the PLT time because it is helpful to them and other students. Many people say even though the class times are shortened by a bit, they still get the same amount of work done as the normal days. They all agree we should switch to this schedule every day but only do advisories Wednesday and not have it every day. 

Will the schedule ever change in the future? 

Do you think our district will ever change the schedule? I interviewed our assistant principal Jennifer Melville at SPASH and got her thoughts and changes she sees in the future. I started by asking what her current thoughts are on our schedule now? She agrees with most of the students from the survey, by saying “It needs to be revamped a bit to better meet staff and student needs.” In other words, Melville sees a problem with the current schedule and personally thinks it could be improved to help the whole school’s needs. I continued to ask if there will be any change with the schedule in the future. Melville said “We continue to work on it and hope to pilot something in the spring semester.” I followed up by asking what that change will be?  “Currently we are looking at a hybrid block.” Melville replied. Lastly I asked what her thoughts were on if we changed our every day schedule to our Wednesday schedule. She responded with “ A later start would always be nice, however we also have to plan for double loop bus routes with the elementary along with after school activities.” In other words it would be harder to change the time of the schedule to start later due to the other schools in our district.

A new schedule?

Jennifer White, an English teacher at SPASH, gave me a picture of the draft of this hybrid block schedule Melville mentioned. On Wednesdays we will start at 8:40 and it will be a block schedule day meaning you will have 3, [90 minute classes] including advisory in between first and second hour. Thursday looks the same with 4, [90 minute classes] ending the day with 20 minutes of PLT, but we start at 7:35 like every other day. Monday, Tuesday, and Friday will all be normal days everyone is used to.

Do you feel as if they are really trying to improve the schedule or making it more stressful?