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By Natalie Delcorps

This year, Batavia High School has changed their schedule on Thursdays for students to seek out teachers for extra help. In the past few years, there has been a late-start every Thursday for teacher conferences, but starting this year, there has been an additional time where kids are not in their structured classes. Instead, students get a whole hour to go where they feel is best. Many BHS students said they are getting help during this time, but many also said they take it as a mental break to hang out with friends.

“Bulldog Hour provides an opportunity for students to access their teachers to get additional support, ask clarifying questions, or provide enrichment opportunities,” said Kristen Stern, the school’s instructional technologist.

The administration is trying to create a time where students who can’t stay before or after school to get help, can now go to Bulldog Hour to get guidance from their teachers. Bulldog Hour is handy for students who are involved in a lot of extracurricular activities.  In theory, this is an outstanding idea, but hearing from some of the kids, a lot of students are not using Bulldog Hour to their advantage. Mrs. Reid, one of the administrators at BHS, shared about the Bulldog Hour process.

“The different administrators went to different schools to see how it worked and would report back. We had the teachers vote and started it in the fall with a Bulldog Hour a week,” said Mrs. Reid.

Chromebooks QR codes allow students to scan into classroom to keep track of everyone. The first week there were 804 check-ins. Three weeks later, the time has been greatly increased by 1292 check-ins. Two weeks ago, there were some QR code difficulties, making the number lower, but on Sept. 25, there were still 925 check-ins. Most of the QR codes are from students in classrooms, which is a positive sign. As time has gone on, students are adjusting to Bulldog Hour.

It’s up to the student of what they decide to do, just like any other study hall. There have been people actually getting help, studying, and others abusing the privilege by spending the whole hour in the cafeteria. Sophomore Marie Giuliano has seen the the downsides of Bulldog Hour, as well.

“I’m now sure if Bulldog Hour will stay because people misuse the time they have. Some have nothing to do.”

Sophomore Morgan Donohue agreed:  “I don’t think anyone uses it to their advantage as much as the school wants it to be used. If I didn’t come in here [the band room] I wouldn’t like it because I wouldn’t know where to go.”

One problem that has arisen has been over-crowding. As I interviewed students, they commented about how much it has been a problem. Having over-crowding is essentially doing the opposite of what Bulldog Hour was intended for: benefiting the students for studying and catching up on school work.

“I like the break from school, but I never get anything done because there are so many people around,” said senior Anna Lukens. “It’s so crowded.”

Because there is no structure for where students have to be, many don’t know where to go, and often times there are a lot of people walking in the hallways.

“I think it’s being more misused because of how crowded the library and cafeteria is,” said senior Joanna Urso said. Mrs. Reid has been making weekly announcements suggesting to students to use their time wisely and not spend the whole time in the cafeteria.

On the other hand, there have been some major benefits to Bulldog Hour. When interviewing teachers, they like having the option for students remediating tests during that hour. It seems plenty of teachers are able to extend a hand to the students that really need and want help.

“I think what’s really great is that I can touch base for students who can’t stay after school,” said Miss Kelzer, a history teacher. “It’s a great way to reassess and remediate and prepare. It helps me to reach out to those kids. I send personal invitations on Google Classroom to see when they can come and get help.”

Mrs. Lo, a French teacher, said, “It benefits students because they get a chance to get extra help. Also, I think it is great for making up quizzes and tests. If they were absent they can pop in to come meet.”

From the students’ point of view, senior Caitlin Ross said, “I haven’t needed help, but I get information from teachers for classes like AP Lit. It gives me a heads up on work and assignments. I think we should keep it because it is a good break in between the day.”

Other students who have been needing help are also benefiting, such as freshman Joseph Zipse.

“I really like Bulldog Hour because I’ve been struggling with English and Biology and it is useful to get help,” Zipse said. I’m for keeping it because it gives people a chance to relax and also get the help you need.”

Bulldog Hour has been going on for about nine weeks, and has been going well. As of right now, it looks like Bulldog Hour might stay for good.

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