High school students spend an average of 2.7 hours a day on homework, and after being at school for nearly 7 hours, it can be very difficult to balance homework with extracurriculars such as sports or clubs as well as having a job.
Many students at Loy Norrix think that having a study hall during the school day would be very helpful to their academic career to help them catch up on missing work and receive help on difficult assignments. I think having a structured study hall just a few times a week would be sufficient for students.
Senior Grant Kahler said, “A study hour would affect my school day by relieving a lot of stress from my life because I would have time put away for schoolwork at school instead of at home. I could also put more effort and time into projects and work because I wouldn’t have to take extra time out of my day to do them.”
Students would experience much less stress and improve their academic performance just by including a designated time during the day where students could complete work and get help.
According to a study at Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School in Montebello, California within just a few months of incorporating a mandatory study hall into their schedule, students’ overall GPA rose by about half a point and honors students increased from 32% to 50%. This is one of many great examples of how providing a study hall can really improve students’ performance.
One of the biggest challenges that would be faced when considering a study hall period is simply how it can be added to the schedule without affecting the length of the school day.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Michigan schools are required to teach 180 days a year with a total of 1,080 hours of instructional time throughout the year
“We could shorten our class hours to have time during the school day for our study hour. A study hour doesn’t necessarily have to be an hour, it can even just be 30 or so minutes,” said senior Grant Kahler.
Principal Christopher Aguinaga said, “It is possible, but it would require the KEA ]teacher’s union] to agree to the change and consequences it could have, such as seeing more students in a day etc. I don’t know if I would support an unstructured study hall, but I could support an advisory period with some kind of SEL curriculum.”
Just by sacrificing five to ten minutes from each of our five classes, we would be able to have a sufficient amount of time at the middle or end of the school day to incorporate a structured study period.
As stated by the Michigan Admin. Code R. 340.10, a district can count the time of a study hall towards the total number of instructional hours without punishment if the structured study hall includes activities such as tutoring, advising, or mentoring if the student to teacher ratio is within range of no more than 35 students per teacher.
Portage Northern High School implements study seminars for their students daily.
“My seminar is at the end of the day, so I can get all of my homework done before I have to come home,” Portage Northern junior Meaghan Bowers said. “That is a huge advantage because when doing after school activities, you don’t always have a lot of time to do your homework when you get home, and it just takes one less thing off my plate at night.”
Portage Northern students attend class for 420 minutes per day (7 hours) and 180 days of the year, Loy Norrix students attend class for 407 minutes a day and 181 days a year. With these schedules being so similar, it is definitely a possibility to include a structured study hall in our schedule.
By adding time for students to catch up or get help on assignments, study hall could also be helpful to students’ mental health.
According to Emmy Kang, a mental health counselor at Humantold, a highly-rated therapy office in New York, “More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress.”
If a study hall was incorporated into the schedule, students could go home with less homework and therefore less stress.
Loy Norrix principal Christopher Aguinaga said, “I think a seminar or advisory period would be very beneficial to students, just probably not every day.”
Having a study hall, even just two to three times a week, could be sufficient for students.
The many benefits of incorporating a study hall outweigh the very few cons. So why can’t it be built into the schedule?
A good plan should be discussed on how we can make this a possibility for students for the sake of having much less stress to deal with from homework and being able to have extra time in the day for friends, family, self-care, and much more, leading to better academic performance.