Lyons Township High School students could catch an extra 25 minutes to study or finish homework under a plan administrators are considering.
Officials are reviewing proposals revising class and lunch periods to carve out another 25 to 35 minutes for a study hall during the school day, potentially in 2015-16.
“The number one reason is to make sure students have the opportunity to get help during the school day,” said Scott Eggerding, director of curriculum and instruction.
“Every student should have time during the school day for quiet study or to talk to a teacher, so they don’t have to come in before or after school,” Eggerding said.
The focus of any change in the school day would be academic improvement, but it’s possible students could attend counseling or academic advising sessions as well. Students would continue being able to take seven courses each semester.
Lunch periods are likely to change following a major renovation of the cafeteria at the north campus in La Grange for juniors and seniors. Work is slated to begin this summer and continue through the next school year.
One of five lunch periods could be eliminated, leaving an extra 25 minutes for a study hall. Nine years ago, LT had three lunch periods, and four sessions easily could accommodate all students in the remodeled cafeteria, Eggerding said.
In addition, several minutes could be shaved off other class periods to add to the study time. The school day also could be extended by a few minutes in the morning or afternoon, but the teachers’ contract must be considered in lengthening the school day, Eggerding said.
“Probably the biggest discussion is would this extra study time be worth the time we’d lose in instruction,” he said. “Some feel it would be more efficient.”
In reviewing other schools’ schedules, at least two models are under consideration.
With a proposal for four lunch periods, students could eat during one 25-minute segment, attend a study hall in another segment and be in a class for the other two 25-minute periods.
The other model could involve shaving minutes off other class periods or lengthening the school day slightly with the four revised lunch periods.
“It’s still in the early stages,” Eggerding said. “We’ve seen schools do it both ways.”
LT’s Community Advisory Council studied the matter in October, and a number of members said they thought students would benefit. The council suggested students also should have access to computers and be able to take advantage of peer tutoring,
Eggerding said there will be a number of disruptions next year due to construction projects at both the La Grange and Western Springs campuses, which pose logistical challenges. Any change isn’t likely until 2015-16.
School officials want to take time to thoroughly study any change and its implications. Eggerding recalled how administrators and the School Board debated for four years before deciding to end the first semester before the winter break.
“We want to make sure we do it right,” he said.