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The Seraphim

Not too late to change late starts

Students+rushing+to+their+next+classes
Students rushing to their next classes

Students rushing to their next classes

Students rushing to their next classes

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The greater numbers of late starts this school year has students and teachers asking this question: Why not early release?

As a senior who witnessed the birth, growth and development of the block scheduling system, I truly have seen its worst and best. Late start and early release are the two forms of scheduling that relieve students from their daily 7:40-2:50 routine.

With the 15 late starts this semester, the seven early release dates are overshadowed. According to  a member of the scheduling committee, the number of late starts this year are due to “the events which the school holds the nights before.” Although this is the scheduling situation, it is not the most favorable one with students.

Based upon a poll of 195 students, 80 percent  said they prefer early release.

Reminiscing about the school’s early years, Spanish teacher Brooke Dauphinais said that the school used to have early release every Friday and that “it was always something to look forward to.”

In order to make up for missed class time on those days, “Monday through Thursday were longer, and we were in class until about 3,” she said. Faculty used the early release time for meetings and professional development.

Although she preferred it, she said that they stopped because they switched the faculty meetings to Wednesdays. She added, “I do not remember why we did not have early release Wednesdays after this change. It was a long time ago.”

For the student who lives far away, a late start is no late start at all. A school day that begins at 9:05 would cause a run into heavy traffic during rush hour. The only way to avoid it is to leave earlier, right about at the time necessary on a regular schedule.

Junior Devin Douglas said she prefers early release because it “gives her more time to do things during the day.”

A late start becomes a common problem for seniors who rely upon taking H period off, with a 2:02 p.m. dismissal time, to make it to work on time.

According to attendance secretary Barbara Marrs, 144 of the 196 students in the senior class take H period off. On late start day gold days, the schedule consists of four periods–A to D, and students who have jobs with inflexible hours leave at 2:02 instead of 2:50 and miss part of class. 

Take senior Cassidy Mannier, who leaves her last period 50 minutes early on Tuesday and Wednesday late starts due to her commitment to her job as a nanny.

Although there is importance in sleep for growing students, a study by Harvard ranked “maintaining a regular sleep-wake schedule” more valuable than obtaining more sleep.

But, for argument’s sake, a student has the option to avoid toying with an alarm clock on a late start and get a head start on the day.

But, with early release, students receive ample time to go home, get settled and do some homework for the night before they even begin their jobs at the times they usually do.

Although the schedule is set for the current school year, I hope that the scheduling committee next year takes these preferences into account when assigning late start and early release days.

With the number of students who are at a disadvantage, it’s not too late to stop late starts.

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Voice of the Notre Dame Prep Saints
Not too late to change late starts