The Lake Breeze Newspaper

Volume #98, Issue #9

Lake Breeze Newspaper

Andrew Becker, Web Edition Editor

May 23, 2013

Eliminating Zero Hour Hurts Students

Story by: Sophia Ly

Recently, news was released that zero hour has been eliminated for the upcoming school year.
Principal Michael Trimberger claims that the cut was made in preparation for the flex mod schedule.
Also, zero hour locked up schedules, creating large class sizes.
The decision to no longer provide zero hour was made by our school’s administration.
Trimberger stated that he did not ask any students for their point of view. “It was non-negotiable,” Trimberger said.
Yet, students may take Jazz Band and South High Singers next year during zero hour. How is that fair to other students who signed up for zero hour classes other than Jazz Band and South High Singers? If zero hour is cut, it should be cut for all students. If zero hour is offered, it should be offered for ALL students, providing an equal opportunity.
This is not the first time that the administration has made a decision for the students without even acknowledging their opinions. It was seen with the dress code policy this year, and decisions like these will continue to be made. Administrators are already discussing future policies for the upcoming year. I believe that even though, I may not agree with administrators’ decision to cut zero hour, and I cannot change their minds, they should have at least asked for a students’ opinion to a solution.
Sophomore Gabrielle Eissner agreed stating, “I think they should have talked to the upcoming juniors because it messed with our schedules.”
Juniors are especially hurt by this decision. Many have had to rearrange their schedules for what will be the hardest year of their high school career. Zero hour cuts have forced many rising juniors to cut some important classes or prevented them from having a study hall.
Juniors are not the only ones affected though, no zero hour means that all students who signed up for the extra hour must give up a class, whether it is an elective or not, and some students will have to postpone some classes for the next year.
For example, Eissner planned to take two important science classes. With the changes, she had to give up AP Biology, which would have given her an honors class credit, and now she will have to take it her senior year.
Instead of zero hour, South will be offering “hybrid” online classes. It is claimed that these classes will offer more flexibility to students’ schedules.
Trimberger also made this sole decision on the fact that when he was studying for his doctorate, he had to take an online class.
He believes that offering online classes will help students out in the long run. Trimberger said, “It’s preparing for college. I don’t want you to struggle…be ready for college.”
Several questions still need to be asked and communicated to students and parents BEFORE schedules are finalized. Will there be an additional cost for the online class? Will South High pay for the course? Would the curriculum be the same as South High’s? What school or organization is offering the online course? Would one group of students have an “easier” grade and then inflate their grade point average, giving them an unfair advantage when it comes to scholarship monies?
According to Trimberger, online classes will not cost students any extra money versus taking regular classes.
Trimberger added, “It is cheaper [for SASD] to run an online class.”
In addition, there are many scholarships that students may not be eligible for if they take an online class. Scholarships will not see students as actual South students competing on the same academic playing field, causing students to possibly lose scholarship opportunities. The fact that students could lose multiple scholarships by taking these “hybrid” classes was something that no one even told current students.
Of course, the teachers, counselors, and administrators informed incoming freshman, but no one who had to choose between online classes or dropping a class was told. Administration not informing students about this, in addition to their multiple new policies that they made without student input throughout the year, reflects poorly on the administration.
I want the administrators to start including student input into the decisions that they make AND communicate to us and our parents for suggestions. I believe that students should start speaking up because cutting zero hour and having online classes instead has affected many students this year and can possibly affect your futures.
It would have been so simple for administrators to contact students for their opinions on zero hour. Passes exist and South has many pass runners. Also, it is not difficult to conduct a parent/student survey. .
Even with cutting zero hour, this new change could have been implemented only to the incoming freshman. That way it would not have stymied current students’ education. Zero hour was an opportunity for students to get ahead in their education. It gave students an opportunity to rest from a full day of classes by having a study hall or it opened the space in their schedule for a fun elective. Now even that has been taken away from students. South officials claim that they are giving students more freedom, but it actually seems as if we are attending a dictatorship, in which students are being told what they can wear, where they study, what they can study and how they do it. I hope that the administration takes in these opinions and starts making some real beneficial changes that are actually FOR the students, not to them.

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