The Great Debate: X-Period Edition (Council Report: 9/18/19)
This week’s Council meeting occurred in the auditorium, which the entire Freshman class was required to attend as a part of their Citizenship and World History course.
The class of 2023 arrived loud and late, and their teachers confirmed every student was present. The reports section of the meeting lasted longer than normal, as committee chairs introduced themselves and stated the goals of committees. Notably, Student Life Chair Casey McGuire spoke of her committee’s work with the Cafe to reduce environmental impacts through several techniques, such as buying a dishwasher to reduce the use of plastic or paper plates and cutlery.
The rest of the meeting was devoted to Junior Representative Tom Lyon’s X Period motion. If passed, the motion would add greater standardization for use of X periods, as well as mandate question-asking and extra help availability in classes not offering an X period. In his speech, Representative Lyons spoke of the usefulness of X periods, and a need to ingrain current practices into the handbook, so as to preserve them even through future staff turnover. The motion in its original form stipulated that teachers of classes without Xs would have to be available for extra help before or after school, a statement that led Staff Representative Hal Bourne to question the legality of that section, as Council cannot require teachers to be present outside of their contracted time. The motion was amended to add activity period as an acceptable time for teachers to be available for extra help.
A large portion of the day’s debates revolved around the addition of a 5C+No homework classification to add to certain classes in the program of studies. Ultimately, it was accepted, as the body felt that the classification was fitting for certain courses, and that the addition would provide a guarantee of extra help for students enrolled in those classes.
During the remaining minutes of the meeting, discussion revolved around the X period motion as a whole. The motion includes language allowing teachers to use activity period for course enrichment, which several members voiced opposition to, stating that activity period is meant to be the student’s time. Representatives including Wylie Lucas (‘21) and Sabin Mitchell (‘20) spoke of throwing out the motion, and instead trying to reform the X period system in an even more significant manner. Representative Sage McGinley-Smith raised the point that all classes specifically required to graduate (such as Gym and Health) should be required to give an X every five-day week, as students do not have a choice to not take the class. Council adjourned mid-debate; as this is a complex and potentially influential motion, the debate will likely stretch over several meetings.