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School Resolutions: Tutorial Crackdown and Zero Period Punishments

Changes with tutorial periods, tardies, and a new zero period policy affect the students of SJHHS.

Mrs.+Serio+makes+sure+her+English+III+students+are+utilizing+their+tutorial+time+responsibly.+Photo+edited+by+Wil+Kennedy.
Mrs. Serio makes sure her English III students are utilizing their tutorial time responsibly. Photo edited by Wil Kennedy.

Mrs. Serio makes sure her English III students are utilizing their tutorial time responsibly. Photo edited by Wil Kennedy.

Makayla Keelin

Makayla Keelin

Mrs. Serio makes sure her English III students are utilizing their tutorial time responsibly. Photo edited by Wil Kennedy.

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It’s no secret that with the start of the 2017-2018 school year, the staff of San Juan Hills High School has started to crack down on tutorial periods, tardies, and lunch tutorials.

Already, teachers have begun to come up with tutorial assignments for their students. Teachers previously known for their leniency with tardies now enforce them with an unnatural strictness.

What happened?

According to new Student Services Assistant Principal, Michael Kim, the technically-unofficial changes with tutorial periods were agreed upon by teachers and administrators prior to the start of the school year.

“It’s a site-based decision,” Kim said. “That means [we] came together and asked, ‘Are the tutorial periods being used effectively?’ That’s the word, effectively. If kids are allowed to do as they wish, being on their devices, YouTube, whatever, is that extra 35 minutes helping our kids? The answer is no, that’s not why we designed [tutorial], we designed it for students to get the extra help, extra assistance, or extra time that they need.”

New tutorial periods often have teachers providing activities or small assignments for students, however, students should know that these tutorial activities are supposed to be merely supplemental.

‘Are the tutorial periods being used effectively?’ That’s the word, effectively.”

— Michael Kim

“That’s what we want it to be, a continuation. Not, ‘Okay, here’s a brand-new assignment, it’s gonna be worth 40 points, you’ve got 35 minutes.’ That’s not what it’s about, it’s supposed to help with what’s already been covered,” Kim said.

Up until now, students and teachers alike had been questioning the true purpose of the tutorial periods. This new structure, however, may finally put these curiosities at ease.

From one point of view, the new tutorial allows for teachers to reinforce what they teach in class, while still allowing students enough flexibility to prearrange plans with their teachers to make up a quiz or test if needed.

Despite this, these changes are not without their downsides. As most Stallions would agree, tutorial periods proved themselves useful as a time to finish homework and assignments. Although not gone completely, free-time to work on whatever assignment you need to is much harder to come by.

“Personally, I enjoyed the extra time, as an AP student,” said Eva Stanton, a senior at SJHHS.

Tutorial periods are not the only thing to have changed this year. At the time of this publication, many Stallions will have probably noticed how much easier it is to acquire a tardy slip. It’s not that there’s less time to get to class, but that there’s less leniency being given to students.

This is part of an effort to make sure that students are diligent about making it to class on time.

Why the change?

“In previous years, there were inconsistencies,” Kim said. “You would have different proctors, or people involved, so now we have a consistent set of two people: Easton and Aguilera. These are teachers who are making sure we have this process locked in, and are holding to the 20 full minute length of the lunch tutorials.”

The consistent 20-minute length has already been a noticeable change for Stallions, as it differs from years past; a teacher could run the lunch tutorial with absolute strictness, and someone different would be in charge the next day who would simply check the students in and let them go.

The newly enforced lunch tutorial structure is designed to give students a real incentive not to be late to any of their classes.

But is it really effective?

According to Campus Supervisor Ms. Kim, it very well may be.

“I can’t compare this year to last year, but here’s what I do know. A lot of kids are getting in a minute or two before the bell, so I’m seeing a difference that way,” Kim said.

A lot of kids are getting in a minute or two before the bell, so I’m seeing a difference that way.”

— Ms. Kim

However, the new lunch tutorials themselves may not be the true reason students are hurrying to class.

“[They] doesn’t help me not be tardy, but they just makes more stress and anxiety about being tardy. Especially with the zero-period policy,” said Stanton.

In previous years, Stallions taking a zero period had no real contract to abide by, but it seems the arrival of this year’s new zero period contract is designed to enforce the attendance of our SJHHS early birds.

According to the new policy, if a student is to reach 9 tardies, absences, or a combination of the two, their right to a zero period will be put in jeopardy. This differs quite significantly from how zero period privileges were treated in the past.

“The only new policy change would be with the zero period contract,” Michael Kim said. “There’s always been a number of tardies and absences that we’ve abided by, but nothing was ever set in stone with a contract. [The contract] is mainly referring to students who would miss zero period and then attend the rest of the day.”

Obviously, if a student were to go against the contract and lose their zero period, having their schedule rearranged would be a mess. A majority of students at SJHHS have their zero period taking the form of academic classes such as AP Economy and AP American Government that cannot simply be dropped or moved. How would this play out?

“The next year, or the following school year, [the student] wouldn’t be allowed to enroll in a zero period,” Kim said. “They would still get to finish out the year while still trying to avoid further tardies or absences, but they would be on a list of people who can’t enroll in the future.”

In addition to the new zero period policy existing as an extra layer of incentive against being tardy, it also incorporates how many absences one has.

“I think [the policy] feels too fast. Tardies and absences add up quickly, especially if someone were to get sick. Being absent punishes itself. If you miss a class you have to make up the work, so they shouldn’t add an additional punishment and further more stress,” Stanton said.

Being absent punishes itself. If you miss a class you have to make up the work, so they shouldn’t add an additional punishment and further more stress.”

— Eva Stanton

With this in mind, know that some students are involved in sports, have a job, or participate in some other after-school activity, and need the zero period in order to free up time later in the day.

Although it may take a semester or an entire year for the policy’s punishment to actually take effect upon a student, some students may be unable to deal with not having a zero period to ease up their busy schedule.

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