Commentary: An Eight Period Day is Necessary

The+poll+asked+students+and+teachers+alike+on+their+viewpoints+of+eight+period+days.

Reece Jacob

The poll asked students and teachers alike on their viewpoints of eight period days.

Reece Jacob and Shannon Marley

Here’s a scenario that all GHS students have gone through: picking next year’s classes. Have you ever been unable to take a class (or forced to take said class online) because you didn’t have enough electives? Have you had to pick between two classes you wanted? Is there a teacher you want to TA for, but can’t because your schedule is jam-packed?  

Glenwood needs an eight-period day so students, like me, can try out more electives.

An eight period day would decrease core class sizes, reduce the likelihood of those competing once-a-day offered classes and give students more room in their schedules for elective choices.

The student body was recently surveyed about their opinion on eight-period days. Out of 168 responses, 61.3% of students said that in the past, they have been unable to take a class because of the seven-period schedule. 69.6% of students said they would benefit from another period in the day.

Not only were the students asked about their opinion, but so were the teachers.

Out of 28 responses, 64.3% of 28 teachers, and 64% of responding teachers agreed that they would benefit from the change, 79% of responding teachers believed that students would benefit from the schedule change.

The teacher survey was anonymous, so no names were recorded.

“I teach elective classes,” said an anonymous teacher. “We are seeing a decline in our enrollment because students have full schedules with their core courses and don’t have as much time in their day for the electives that they want to take.”

One more class period does not mean staying in school longer. This schedule change is possible while still getting out of school at 3:24 like always. If each class is shortened by just 3-7 minutes, there’s enough room to add in another class period, which can be filled with any course the student chooses. Another option is removing connections entirely in order to reduce the amount of time by which classes are shortened.

The biggest trending concern among teachers is the loss of instructional time, even if only by 3-6 minutes. However, many student proponents for the schedule change think that shortened class periods would help improve in class attention, reduce boredom, and overall boost productivity. This is particularly noted in students who have difficulty focusing over long periods of time and become quickly bored and inattentive. Shortened class periods means that the ratio of productive time to non-productive time could be improved for students.

According to sites such as www.rubiconline.com, there’s signs that point to it helping students with attention issues, like me. A lot of sources suggest that kids with these types of problems work better with the shorter class periods that come with more periods. This includes not just kids with ADHD and ADD, but kids with dyslexia and autism as well.

Among students, the biggest concern is losing connections to this schedule change. Looking at the data collected from the surveys, 60% of students believe that connections is necessary while 57% of teachers said that they do not support the elimination of connections. While the polls weren’t drastically in favor of either option, there is a clear trend that both students and teachers alike believe that connections is necessary.  While connections may be impossible to continue in a revised, 8-period schedule, this data is important to consider when making such decisions.

There is a downside to this, however. The number of credits students will need to graduate will increase with an eight period day. I know a lot of people will look at that and think it wouldn’t be worth it to change the schedule. The way I see it, this doesn’t change much. There’s quite a few opportunities for students to gain more credits, or regain some they may have failed. Even then, increasing graduation requirements doesn’t outweigh the pros of going to an eight-period day.

If this doesn’t convince my readers, I don’t know what will. More classes, more social opportunities, and more attention is honestly a really good deal. I don’t see a scenario where those benefits aren’t necessary. We need eight periods.