8 Periods:The good, the bad, and the ugly
The mere notion of a longer school day was enough to elicit numerous complaints, grumbles, and grievances from the Cleveland Heights High student body. So, this school year, when the district added 48 minutes to the school day and shortened the time between classes in order to accommodate an eighth period, the change was met with some resistance.
Looking past the initial reluctance with the first quarter now complete, the pros and cons of the eight-period day are recognizable. For starters, the eight-period day provides scheduling flexibility. Heights offers a wide variety of courses. Unfortunately, there seems to be too many options and too little time. Previously, students who took an art or music, as well as a language, were unable to schedule the state required health and physical education without sacrificing their lunch. Now, however, those classes easily fit into the eight-period schedule and, for those upperclassmen who have met all the course requirements, the wide variety of available courses can be taken advantage of and fully appreciated.
In addition, the new schedule is designed so that all freshman and those struggling in at least one of their classes are required to have one period of Educational Options for Success (EOS). EOS is, in essence, a study hall, in which students can catch up on homework and receive individualized aid from teachers. This encourages students to seek help and provides them with time in which to do so.
The one big downside to this revised schedule, however, is the loss of after school special help. This was a period at the end of the school day where students had the opportunity to go to any teacher for help with class material. Without special help, students not scheduled for an EOS find it difficult to receive help outside of class.
Like bitter-sweet chocolate, the eight-period day has its appealing, as well as its unappealing, aspects. Perhaps, though, this longer school day – which has a tendency to feel more like a detriment to sleep and to social life than an improvement– will soon become the norm, and the old, seven-period day, will long be forgotten.