Olivia Silbernagel, The Charter News
No conference table? Only four students per table? No lunch in study hall? A ninety minute limit? The changes made to study hall have left many students wondering: why? This school year changes have been put into effect in the study hall and here’s the admins take on why they happened.
Last year, students voiced concerns about the rules in the study hall. These rules were mainly around ensuring that study hall was a quiet place where students could work without interruption. This year, these rules have been changed as well as more strictly enforced to create an atmosphere which fosters quiet, focused study. In an email interview for The Charter, Kassidy Young, a senior at ACA, said she thinks the changes have had a “ negative effect on many students” and elaborated that she knows many students who schedule classes solely to get out of study hall.
According to the current study hall supervisor, Merrie Miller, the removal of the table and rule changes were made “to address the overall student needs in study hall”. In an interview, ACA Director Nic Chapin stated that he had many meetings with students last school year to address students issues with the study hall. Chapin feels it is important to “…give the opportunity for collaborations….and time for students to talk but to also create an environment…that works with as many people as possible”. He also believes that removing the large table is more conducive to quiet focused study.
The conference table’s removal was correlated with four-students-per-table rule; it is hard to enforce when the majority of the seating is a table meant for twelve or more people. When questioned about the seating changes in an email interview, Jill Mohr, another administrator at ACA, replied “Some students were wanting areas for study groups. The smaller tables help to facilitate this.”
“I always want to hear our voices”
Mrs. Miller also commented on lunch no longer being allowed in study hall. “I have personal health issues and I need a break to walk or engage in other movement activities instead of sitting. Because of this I cannot supervise lunch in the study hall.” Miller added that she has absolutely no problem with lunch in study hall if another staff member is available to supervise that time. Kassidy Young said, although the change was disappointing, she could understand why it was made as the room could “get out of control” during the lunch period.
One of the most contentious issues between affected students and administrators is the ninety minute limit on study hall time. Constantine VanSickle, a Junior at ACA, believes that the rule is “irresponsible” as the school should have a place on campus for students to be at all times. The rule puts students in a bind as they are not allowed to be out of a class but also not allowed in study hall. Barbara Kindler-Gaines, an administrator at ACA, commented on the issue by saying that ACA has a “college campus” style and that students need to be picked up by parents or leave themselves during breaks over ninety minutes. “We are a school of choice,” said Kindler-Gaines, she elaborated that students are able to sign a waiver if they want to stay in the room longer, even if the school does not recommend it.
Students and staff will most likely always have different ideals for the type of space study hall is, but administrators are working hard to make improvements every year. As Mr. Chapin said in the same interview, “I always want to hear our voices.” Mr. Chapin believes it is important to collaborate to find a solution and a middle ground between student concerns and the needs of the staff and administrators and welcomes student input. “We’ll do the same thing we did before, we’ll look at data, is it working?”
Chapin, Nic. Personal Interview. Oct. 4 2017
Kindler-Gaines, Barbara Personal Interview. Oct. 9 2017
Mohr, Jill. Email Interview. Sep. 27 2017
Young, Kassidy. Email Interview. Sep. 26 2017