Zero Hour at north


Elena Elisseeva

Young woman pressing snooze button on early morning digital alarm clock radio

Burke Cochran, Co-Features Editor

Next year, Belvidere North will implement a new hour before first hour.

This will allow for students to enroll in eight classes a day instead of seven, and will be used on a trial-basis second semester. Teachers and administrators have a meeting in May. This action is a step in order to make education more customizable for students. Also, it will help for people to make up credits in order to graduate on time, by allowing them to take another credit-earning course, on top of required course load.

This would be a step in the right direction for education at North. However, certain aspects of the notion could still impair education for some students

First, it could create an overbearing load for students. Students already have to take seven classes a day, each with their own homework. Adding another class only adds more to that, making it more likely students will not be able to keep up with demanding courses.

There is also impressive research that shows that students are unable to focus, and retain information with classes that are early in the morning. Because of this, many schools across the nation have actually been starting school later. It has been shown to improve student performance, and also helps students get more sleep. This shows another issue with the Zero Hour Idea. It’s early in the morning. Students would have to wake up earlier in order to get in time for their classes, which would be before first hour.

The Zero Hour would also not be attainable for every student. From the information given, it seems as though the busses would still get to school at the same time, meaning students would have to organize their own transportation, an option not viable for many freshman and sophomores who are not old enough to get their license.

One prospect that may be positive for students with a Zero Hour is that a bad grade will not bring down student’s GPA as much, as it would be weighed against eight classes rather than seven. However, it’s still likely that a student could get more bad grades because they are spread thin with extra classes. If this follows, it would make the benefit valueless.

There are still other options to explore where students can get a more personalized education, while not giving up their sleep.

For example, a Block Schedule allows for eight classes. In a block schedule,  classes are an hour and a half long and alternate every other day. Research has shown that this helps student’s memory in the long term, encourages homework completion, and even improves student’s standardized testing scores.

This is a step in the right direction for North; however, there are still some concerns in order to make the education here the best it can be.