ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: New homeroom system stirs controversy

A new school year has started and the community is seeing lots of changes. One major change is, the school has created a new homeroom system, also known as “Patriot Time.”

The leadership team had a small group of staff look over the issues last year and think of ways to fix the problem. The goal right now is to have Patriot Time about every two weeks for 30 minutes, during second period. The goal is to bond with your second period classmates and make it easier for students to talk more. Students are skeptical about this change. “I believe that Patriot Time won’t be helpful because it didn’t work in homeroom and although it’s in second period with students you see almost everyday, the amount of interaction vary from different classes,” senior Yerin Han said.

Formerly in homeroom, teachers give out information like report cards and schedules. Teachers were also supposed to go over topics with their students, but not all teachers did. Instead, they let students use their phone, talk, and do other homework. Now, homeroom is only for the purpose of distributing materials to students like report card. Patriot Time will be used to promote wellness and create a positive school climate. The time will be spent discussing topics like managing stress, creating empathy, and the Sept. 20 visit from Chris Gardner. The first Patriot Time will be in October focusing on body safety. Despite the goal, students are concerned about the use of time. “I think it’s a waste of time because there’s no need to do it in second period. You should go to your counselor if you really want to talk about these topics,” sophomore Seunghyun Han said.

The school decided to implement this change because students have mentioned that they wanted to have these kinds of discussions and topics addressed in school. The leadership team will see how it’s going throughout the year. Administrator Jane Cocker’s goal is that Patriot Time will become a part of the life of the school and serve as a model for other schools. In addition, she hopes that it will increase students’ well being and give them tools to apply to life.

Cocker is looking for student volunteers who would like to serve as part of the Patriot Time working group to help develop lessons. “I am really excited about this change. It is a great opportunity for us as a school to have some really valuable conversations that are not only important now, but are also things that we can apply throughout our lives now and apply in the future,” Cocker said.