Study hall, although providing a quiet atmosphere, is not a productive place for all students. ACA offers students the wonderful ability to pick and choose the classes they want in order to reach their academic goals. Because of this, many students are left with gaps in their schedules between classes. During these gaps, unless his or her parent is on campus, all high school and middle school students are required to be in Study Hall for their safety.
Years ago, during the earlier stages of ACA, there was a student lounge in place of a study hall. The student lounge was short lived, however, because of the students’ neglect to clean and maintain it. Administration decided that a study hall would be better for the students at ACA.
Study hall was created as quiet place for students to go and study without distractions during their gap periods. This structure enabled many students to be productive and catch up on homework. As Mrs. Merrie Miller, our current study hall teacher, said, “kids do need a quiet place.” Mrs. Miller’s goal for study hall is to create a productive environment for students who need to get work done, whether that be homework or something else to “further their mind in their academia.”
“My job description is to run a study hall…which is designed as a place to study,” she said. “I know I have to be rough sometimes, but it isn’t because I don’t like anyone, it’s just part of the job.”
On the other hand, many other students have found it difficult to be productive in study hall. They find that they are most productive when they are able to work out loud, or with other students. This presents administration with a problem; How do we make study hall the best possible environment for the majority of students?
Although ACA prides itself on providing a very individualized education to students, there are many restrictions on them, including space to host other clubs and study areas, teachers to oversee the groups, and money to pay those teachers. What changes could we implement now to help students who are struggling to be productive in study hall? What changes could we hope to make in the future? One student suggested an idea that would hopefully solve all of those problems.
Since we have an abundance of on-site parents in the cafeteria, we could have small groups in the cafeteria monitored by parent volunteers. The groups could have a sign in, just like study hall and you would have to get permission from Mrs. Miller to go. This would be based on where you are on homework and grades and would be determined however Mrs. Miller sees fit, so only students caught up on their work could participate. This could allow the students who don’t have work to do in Study Hall to be productive during their hours between classes. It also solves problems for students who want a place to collaborate with other students and talk through their homework. This alternative then leaves study hall to be a quiet place to study.