New Study Hall Policy
Rising tenth graders will be pleasantly surprised when they realize their study halls have been replaced with free periods.
The Hopkins handbook now states, “Students will be released from study halls after fall of ninth grade.” During the spring term ninth graders can earn the privilege to have free periods in lieu of study halls. For those who did not know, study halls used to be mandatory for both ninth and tenth graders, and tenth graders were able to earn free periods in the spring.
When asked why the changes to one study hall policy were made, Lars Jorgensen, Dean of Students, replied, “We got feedback from students who frequently said that study hall was their least favorite environment to get work done, so we listened to that and decided to reevaluate that.” Jorgensen continued, “We found that most people study effectively in an environment of their own choosing.”
Gigi Fulginiti ’19 explained how study halls can be productive but distracting at the same time, “I think that study halls are a good opportunity that many people use wisely but are also an indicator of poor work ethic. More often than not students are watching Netfix and playing video games instead of actually being productive and for some people being around others is diffcult when trying to work.”
One of the issues that sparked discussion about study hall policy was that some students would skip study halls in favor of working in a space that they were more productive. Jorgensen recalled, “What I also found last year as Head Advisor for the Sophomore Class is that it was kind of odd when I would go during study hall and see people elsewhere and if they didn’t have a pass actually have to reprimand them when they’re studying. I would go there and they were studying anyway.”
Jorgensen stated that student feedback prompted the discussion to change study hall policy, “We took a lot of the feedback the students gave to head advisors and others to heart and wanted to listen to that.” Jorgensen and the Academic Policy Committee continued to receive feedback from students and conducted their own research on what are the best environments for people to study.
Jorgensen reported some of his fndings from his investigation on time management, “Sometimes if they just had really a big test maybe the best thing for them to do that next hour would be to have some downtime and not be forced to study.” After much discussion, the Academic Policy Committee decided to change study hall policy. Jorgensen described the multiple committees that discussed and ultimately decided to make the changes to study hall, “There is a committee called Academic Policy Committee so it was discussed there. It was also discussed in a committee for head advisors which includes [Head of School Kai] Bynum, [Assistant Head John] Roberts, and a whole host of other administrators as well.”
The benefts of free periods could come at a price. It is easier to become distracted, hanging out with friends rather than getting work done. Jorgensen stated that it might be benefcial to place some students in study hall, “If advisors get feedback from teachers even in tenth and eleventh grade that they are not managing their time and not getting their work done we reserve the right to put them back in study hall.” Lauren Seto ’19 said that study halls help her work, “I spend most of my free time at school doing homework and I feel like having study halls helped me to be more disciplined about getting work done at school.”
In the spring term every freshman will not instantly receive free periods. Free periods are only earned when a student shows that they are responsible and able to work done by themselves. Jorgensen described the process of how ninth graders can earn free periods, “Then advisors and head advisors will look just like they used to in the sophomore year what students can handle the privilege of not having to be at a place to study.” When Fulginiti was asked if she thought study halls or free periods were better, she summed up the conversation quite well, “It really all depends on how individuals fnd that they can work best, and their diligence when it comes to academics.”