New study hall system met withstudent resistance

After sickness caused him to miss a few days of school, freshman Justin Masteller expected a more-or-less seamless transition back into the everyday scholastic routine. He discovered, however, that this was not to be. His absence was duly recorded in Infinite Campus, and gave him a failing grade; he was enrolled in Success Study Hall. Success Study Hall (SSH) is an alternative to normal study hall; its focus is on providing a more disciplined, focused environment by removing the external stimuli present in normal study halls. Notably, a half-hour segment is reserved for total silence. This is intended to create a more scholastic mindset, and therefore boost the students’ academic achievement. “It’s kind of like the other study hall, except with more restrictions,” said Masteller. “They check your grades once a week – they keep tabs on you a little more. It’s pretty good; if you have a friend in it, it won’t seem to go on for very long.” The administration presumably feels that the implementation of SSH is a helpful (and perhaps vital) step towards raising the academic achievement of underperforming students both in classes and on standardized tests. Although other solutions exist, such as the Learning Square homework forum, perhaps this additional, mandatory attention is required by students. “We started Success Study Hall for kids who are failing a class,” said Shabnam. Ali, the program’s overseer. “I feel it is successful because kids come here and study. They can do work and make up for their grades.” Ali’s claims notwithstanding, an impromptu resistance has surfaced. Disseminated primarily through the social networking site and led by President Patty Mackey with a membership of more than 170, the group voices a number of grievances, chiefly regarding the mandatory 30 minutes of silence. This, according to the anti-SSH faction, segregates students and has a detrimental affect on their performance. “That’s right, folks, we’re being treated like four year-olds now,” says the group’s Facebook page. “[A] problem that arises is that ‘thirty minutes of silence.’ Not only does that rob students of their right to have some decent socializing time, it also creates a lot of new problems for the study hall monitors. Instead of talking, kids will start to write notes to communicate, which will distract them even more from their homework than the talking did.” Whether these criticisms are founded or unfounded remains to be seen. The disparity between students who perform poorly and those who excel is definitely an important and glaring one, especially in the increasingly academic high school society. While the dispute between the administration and the resistance continues to rage, SSH is here – whether to stay or not is open to speculation.