After the American Association of Pediatrics published a report stating that schools should start no earlier than 8:30 AM in the morning, Gregory School students were introduced to a new schedule concept at the end of last year, in which students would be starting school at 8:50 AM.
Because school would be starting later, it would be ending later. The TGS administration also created a new, additional period, called “zero hour,” in which students could take classes at 7:30 in the morning if they wanted. It was promised to be optional.
Students went into summer break thinking that if they were interested, they would be able to start school a little early. They were under the impression that they had flexibility and choice. Students who played sports would start school early so that they wouldn’t miss class at the end of school to attend practice or games.
In August, the administration informed students that zero hours were now mandatory. Some classes, like AP Physics, were being held exclusively in the morning.
Students, for the most part, dislike zero hour. “I find it very difficult to have such a challenging class like AP Statistics at such an early time in the morning,” senior Sam Groskind said. “We just had our first test, and I wasn’t even awake for most of the class. I’m sure that will be reflected in my grade.”
Head of School, Dr. Sherrill explained why zero hours evolved from the perceived model of last year. “It’s not mandatory,” she said. “If people want to take certain classes, however, they sometimes have to come in during a zero hour. It was really for the purpose of getting everyone. It was simply where a class had to fall to make everything fit in.”
Sherill continued, “It was a matter of trying to squeeze in all these singleton classes for a motivated student body all wanting to take these high level courses that are difficult, but only ten or twelve students want to take. We couldn’t offer two sections of those classes, but we had to offer at least one.” This, combined with PowerSchool technical difficulties led to more zero hours than expected.
However, as always, Sherrill is extremely open and flexible to change. “We’re polling students, to see if it works for them, in order to begin planning the future,” she said.
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