By Ava West
To the surprise of many Oak Hall Upper School (US) students, freshmen no longer have to attend study hall their first semester. Instead, they automatically have a free period. The US administration researched data and grades from previous freshmen classes and found that “most freshmen use free periods at least partly to study and get ahead,” explained Upper School Director John Perlette. While many US students participate in after school activities, the new freedom is encourage to be used to get ahead of their homework.
“When I was a freshman, [mandatory study hall] was very beneficial because when freshmen first come to the Upper School they don’t know what to expect,” said junior Major Collins. Defaulting to study halls isn’t necessary for all students as most already use the free period to see teachers and study independently. Study halls are mandated for students who need a little bit of guidance and help to get on top of their grades. When interims are sent by teachers to parents for students that have earned a C- or below in a class, Oak Hall’s Learning Center team are made aware of the situation. If a student has two or more grades of a C- or below, a mandatory study hall is put into place. In addition, if a student is failing a class, they are also put into a mandatory study hall.
When freshmen had study hall their first semester, it wasn’t as structured as the current study hall is. “When I ran study hall as a teacher I would say ‘Listen, you have work to do, and I have work to do if you are getting my attention, you are not doing the right thing’. That is not a supportive environment for students to earn their way out of study hall and I’ll be the first to admit that,” Perlette stated. The Learning Center also provides a consistent, concentrated study hall environment for students who need the extra help.