X-Period Debate Leaves Some Feeling Cross With Motion – Council Update (3/28/2018)

This past week’s Council meeting saw the continuation of the discussion surrounding the X-Period Standardization Motion. However, before the discussion was to begin, Council went through its usual committee and leadership updates. Assistant Moderator Jasper Meyer began by saying that the technology to make last year’s Community Service Motion a reality is now ready and that Principal Campbell is ready to debate the motion’s merits with the Dresden School Board. The Student Life Committee then gave an update on their idea to place couches in the school’s hallways, saying that the Hanover fire chief said that it was not an option but that they are looking into the possibility of creating built-in benches. After those updates came the main item on the agenda: the X-Period Standardization Motion.

Council went straight into discussion as the speakers list from the last meeting was carried over into this one. Teacher Representative Ms. Price began the discussion by saying that  the viewpoints of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teachers need to be represented at Council meetings because STEM teachers have a different philosophy than humanities teachers on X’s. She also mentioned that there are no STEM teachers who are representatives on Council and that there is an important perspective missing in the body as a result. After some discussion about the number of X’s the motion required, Council passed an amendment to make the motion require teachers to only give 20% of their class time as X’s, and thus not necessarily require an X every week. Teacher Representative Mr. Prince then contributed his opinions to the discussion, saying that he knows there is a problem with X’s but that the motion is not the right solution. He added that there is a bigger systematic problem with the schedule, and that HHS needs to look at changing to a block schedule.

Teacher Representative Ms. Ceplikas then brought up that when she was hired she was told the original purpose of X-periods was to develop students into people who could individually manage time through giving them the real-world choice between staying and doing work or leaving and doing something else they want to do, something which she believes is important for students to learn. Freshman Representative Sage  McGinley-Smith said that she doesn’t like that students in relation to X’s are treated differently based on whether they are in an honors or non-honors class. Representative McGinley-Smith then proclaimed that the idea that people in non-honors aren’t challenging themselves is a bad way to look at it as nearly everyone is choosing classes that challenge them, and for some that may entail honors classes and for others non-honors, so there should be similar treatment in terms of X’s. Sophomore Representative Clay Kynor followed this up by saying that students, him included, really need to talk to teachers about the importance of X’s and what they mean to the student body.

Council Moderator Aisling Kelly then handed the gavel over to Secretary Catherine Han as Moderator Kelly said she had many things to say on this issue. Moderator Kelly then said that in her experience Honors teachers had told her that she signed up for an honors class and that it would mean that there would be no X-periods. She found this to be unfair. Moderator Kelly then addressed the discussion of a block schedule, to which she said that she would be happy to change the schedule but that the change would take at least two years so in the meantime there should at least be an X-period policy like the currently one being debated. Lastly, Mod. Kelly said that she thinks this whole problem stems from how STEM-based HHS is, referencing how the social studies department does not even have honors classes.

After Moderator Kelly, Junior Representative Elizabeth Napier discussed how the perfect answer to the X-period problem may not exist but that the motion at hand is good. Rep. Napier then proclaimed to Council in response to the lack of X’s in many honors classes: “Honors students aren’t super humans; they need help too.” It was a sentiment which many in Council seemed to agree with. Lastly, Moderator Kelly moved to amend the motion to get rid of the 60% rule, which states that one needs a 60% grade or higher to leave class during an X-period, and said that Council needs to further discuss the part in the motion that states that no additional work can be assigned on the day of an X-period at next week’s meeting.

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