by EMILIE KILFOIL '17
Near the end of the 2015-2016 school year, SUA began implementing a new school schedule called the IRS day, which provides students a bell for Independent Reading and Studying.This schedule has replaced some “90 Days,” which formerly took place every two weeks, and consisted of two 90-minute classes before lunch and two after lunch. Most students do not like having 2 classes after lunch or the lengthened bells and fewer breaks, thus less time to complete homework. The IRS schedule aims to combat these conflicts; classes are kept at the usual 80 minutes, there is only one class after lunch, and there is a built-in 40-minute study hall.
Ms. Meyer says that the idea for IRS days came from discussions with students. “At the end of last year, I met with students to see what they like and what they would like to see improved. One of the things that each group said was that students wished they had some time to read, study, and get caught up with classes.” These conversations confirmed that students--and many teachers--do not like the 90-minute bells. However, SUA isn’t ready to abandon 90 Days just yet, as they provide time to watch movies, take field trips, and host speakers. As year progresses, though, Ms. Meyer and the administration will continue to monitor student opinions on IRS days. “The IRS schedule is another opportunity to pursue this year’s theme of Nurturer” adds Ms. Meyer. “It gives students time to take care of themselves by spending time efficiently and staying on top of their school work.”
IRS days have received very favorable responses from students. In fact, 100% of seniors who responded to a survey related that they prefer this schedule to a typical 90 day. Daija Jackson ’17 especially appreciates the new IRS days because of the natural study break and better focus inc class. “I like the fact that I can relax during the school day and finish up anything that needs to be done without stressing about it. On IRS days, I have a bit of a break to slow down and do any homework I feel is important.”
Julia Pucci ’17 expresses similar sentiments, noting that the Independent Reading and Studying period “is a quiet break in the day where you can take a deep breath and get ahead on work. It allows me to get ahead on work that I would otherwise have to do at home.”