Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, March 27, 2000

LP school board considering eliminating HS study halls

By Gail Lipe

Lester Prairie High School Dean of Students Joe Miller is working on a proposal that would eliminate study halls from the secondary schedule.

He told the Lester Prairie School Board last Monday that he is considering restructuring the school day from seven 52-minute periods to six 64-minute periods.

"The down side is there would be a little bit of a drop in opportunities," said Miller. He also said there would be an increase in some class sizes.

Band and choir also may prove to be a problem because the two classes alternate days. A student currently has an alternating study hall if he is not in both band and choir.

Miller said it may be possible to split the hour between band and choir so each would meet five days a week. He said there would need to be an aide to monitor the students who are not in one or the other.

The advantage to the schedule is study halls would be eliminated, said Miller. Currently there are two study halls per hour staffed by non-certified staff. If the class times are increased by 10 minutes of study time, students would begin their homework with the teacher available to them.

Board member Barry Kyllo said that has the potential to improve learning.

Miller also said the cutting of study halls would cut costs and free up two rooms per hour. Other classes could be added. With the current schedule, all the rooms are consistently used.

Miller also said he sees more students in the office for disciplinary reasons from study halls than regular classes.

Board member Gene Starke said he thought it would be great for the students, because they would have to work.

The board also looked at the calendar for the 2000-2001 school year. It was proposed that a calendar be developed with 181 working days, following the schedule of 1999-2000.

"We should look at the calendar so we don't automatically do it the same as last year, every year," said Kyllo. He said it might be wise to add in a spring break for families to take vacations and go a little longer in June.

Starke said families will take vacations when they want to. He did not feel they would plan around a scheduled spring break.

Board member Nancy Krull disagreed. "If it is on the calendar, I think families will plan around it," she said.

The board decided that two calendars should be developed, one that follows the 1999-2000 calendar and one that adds in a spring break and runs into June.

Supt. James Redfield will get input from the teachers to develop the options, and see what is feasible.

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