Study hall enrollment restricted for 2014-2015 school year

Ankit Kadakia , Copy editor

As students are enrolling for the 2014-2015 school year, principal Amy Murphy said the process of selecting a study hall will have more restrictions. This is due to a number of students who are not utilizing their time in study hall to get work done. While Murphy said there is not a finalized plan to determine who is allowed to take a study hall, right now, the plan is that if a student wants a study hall in his or her schedule, it is probably going to require a meeting between the student, his or her parent and a grade level administrator.

“We’re not saying that there aren’t going to be study halls next year,” Murphy said. “If you need a study hall, you need a study hall. But [after] walking around and dropping in on study halls last semester, [I have found that] people aren’t using them. People are looking for a way to get a first or seventh hour study hall so they can get out of here. I go in and they’re playing video games, sleeping and listening to music. They’re not using study halls to get their homework done.”

According to Murphy, the students who do need a study hall because of a job, sports or other activities should not have a problem enrolling in one.

“There are kids in the building who need a study hall and who are using it,” Murphy said. “I will tell you that is more a minority of kids than the majority.”

The restrictions to study hall enrollment will push students to explore other areas of interest at BVNW and will increase the number of students enrolled in elective classes, Murphy said. Currently, many students are missing out on opportunities presented because they take a study hall instead of trying something new.

“I think kids are missing out on lots of opportunities to try some things in high school,” Murphy said. “The BVNW expectation is that everybody takes seven classes and that we are going to get some kids to try things that they would otherwise not have tried.”

The restrictions to study hall enrollment have elicited many responses from students, mainly juniors, who claim they will not be able to have an easy senior year, junior Jenny Lu said.

“Most of the people I’ve talked to are angry because they were planning on taking a study hall senior year,” Lu said. “Seniors want to catch a break after junior year, which is really tough. The students who do need a study hall should still be able to take one. This just made the process to get into a study hall harder.”

However, Murphy advises that students do not take an easy course load their senior year because that will not prepare them for college.

“A lot of times, our seniors will pare their schedules down,” Murphy said. “Is that really the best thing to do? I totally get the argument that ‘I have worked hard kindergarten through eleventh grade, I just want to have a kick back year before I go to college.’ I question whether that’s the best way to prepare you for college.”

Blue Valley West has had restricted study hall enrollment since it opened and it has worked out for them, Murphy said. Restricting study hall enrollment will solve the issue of students having two study halls in their schedule. Currently, students are only allowed to take one study hall or be a teacher aid, but if they decide later in the semester to drop a class, then they will have two in their schedule.

“It will be a change, and anytime we do a change it takes us a few years to work through it,” Murphy said. “In two or three years, we are going to look back on this and it’s going to be a good thing. That’s why I’m not ready to say exactly how were going to do it because I want to gather some information and figure out how best to put this together. Right now, everybody has questions, but I encourage people to be patient. We’re going to roll the process out and we’ll be glad to answer everyone’s questions and work through the process with everybody.”