Alternative Scheduling for Secondary Students
Researchers have found that adolescents are not naturally morning people, but all people have variety of attention spans. Most workers in our society can find work schedule that match their attention span with shift work. <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />School Districts are offering opportunities for full day classes.
Adolescents have natural need for more sleep than younger children have and are involved in sports and employment that make time demands. Sometimes it becomes hard for them to attend school during a set schedule. The recommendation has been to alternate the start times between elementary students and secondary students, but that does not help the students who are involved in employment. Many secondary students have employment to help their family or to finance their automobile and dating needs. Without flexibility, these students might not graduate.
Secondary students online can take many classes online. The students can take them during the usual time of the high school in the area or at a time that meets there attention span or employment or sports schedule. Many students need to take classes online because health concerns prevent them from attending open classes for long periods.
The presidential election brought this situation to the limelight when Vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin explained her daughter’s boyfriend was taking classes online so he could participate in an apprentice program on the pipeline. He later left the apprentice program because he was not entitled to be in the apprentice program without a high school diploma. Her daughter took classes online as well because of her pregnancy. There are many others ways to deal with the attention, health and employment needs of students.
Scheduling the Day
Many schools have added two alternative periods in the day. The traditional class schedule is hour 1-6, but there is now a zero and a seventh and some have added an 8th. The 0 hour starts an hour prior to the day started. Many involved in spring sports find the addition of a 0 hour prevents them from being away from the class while traveling to sport events.
Many alternatives exist for secondary students. Other schools offer a night school program that starts the hour that the traditional school ends. The aim for these classes is the students who must work to support their families. Pasco Washington School District offered night school as a way to provide education for the students who must work in the fields to support their families. Many of the migrant students found this as a means to graduate. Alternative high schools allow students to following an alternative schedule or even work at their own pace.
As the population is the country changes, the school system must change as well. With an open mind, the needs of all students wanting an education can occur.