By Sarah Hager
Many students have ideas for how Batavia High School could be improved, either through changes or additions to the current system. Featured below are suggestions given by members of the student body as to how students’ learning experience and overall enjoyment of school could be improved.
“More field trips” – Alexa Andrews
Field trips provide students with opportunities to apply classroom learnings to everyday life. Real-world exposure through classroom excursions encourages hands-on learning, which teaches students in a more memorable, and often more enjoyable way, as opposed to conventional worksheets and lectures.
Many language classes at Batavia High School take field trips. For example, the Spanish III class recently took a trip to the restaurant Meson Sabika in downtown Naperville. They were able to enjoy an authentic multi-course Mexican meal while learning more about Spanish culture.
Although field trips are difficult to work into the block schedule when every minute of class time is precious, out-of-class experiences can be much more valuable than a typical day of learning. Field trips could be as simple as taking a math class outside to solve problems using real objects and calculations or bringing a history class to a museum to look at artifacts from the time period currently being studied.
“More assemblies” – Madelyn Huddleston
Schoolwide assemblies get students excited and give them a sense of school unity. Celebrating even the smallest accomplishments or minor school events could be a great way to encourage students to take pride in their school.
Other than the annual homecoming week pep rally and the occasional celebration of an accomplished sports team, there are typically no other in-school assemblies. Assemblies could be held to promote an upcoming event, celebrate an approaching holiday, or even draw attention to the many clubs that we have at our school.
Why not have an assembly just to have an assembly? While most teachers would not be in favor of giving up a chunk of class time for a seemingly meaningless event, having something for students to look forward to throughout the day could boost their moods. The feeling of pride that assemblies incite could also make students more enthusiastic about coming to school.
“Book fair” – Dessa Bobosky
For most, book fairs are remembered as an elementary or middle school function. However, many high schoolers enjoy purchasing books, especially newer ones that are not yet available in the school or public library. The school’s decision to host a week-long book fair would give students the opportunity to discover recently released books and purchase their own copies of much loved favorites. A book fair could also function as a great fundraiser for the school as a portion of the profit would most likely go towards our school’s account.
“The school library should not close at 4:00 p.m.” – Huddleston
Many students use the LRC as a quiet after-school study place. By closing at 4:00 p.m., the amount of time that students have to concentrate and finish their work away from the distractions of their home is severely limited.
Although the public library is available to students and is open until much later, it is more convenient for some to go straight from fourth block to the school library. Students that cannot drive or do not have a car must rely on their parents to take multiple trips in order to take them from school to the public library and then pick them up again later.
The testing center, which extends off of the library, also closes at 4:00 p.m. Some students could use longer than this hour and a half period of time to finish tests and other in-class assignments that they may have missed. Leaving the center open for just a bit longer could save students multiple trips to the testing center and could alleviate some of the pressure of having to finish within the short time constraints.
“Lunch should be longer” – Julia Bobosky
The current length of each lunch period at BHS is 20 minutes, less than one third of the length of a single class. Students that purchase their midday meal at school often receive even less than these 20 minutes to eat due to long hot lunch lines.
Lunch is one of the only times during the day that students get to socialize freely. However, it can be difficult to finish eating during that time, let alone share in a conversation. Extending lunch periods by even a few minutes could give students some much needed and very appreciated extra time to refuel and spend a bit more time with friends.
“More guest speakers” – Huddleston
Guest speakers function as a great way to introduce students to new information. Speakers provide insight, inspiration, a glimpse into various careers, first-hand accounts of historic events, and more.
Earlier this year, a survivor of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon came to speak at BHS. Students that were either extremely young or not yet born at the time of the 9/11 attacks were able to hear him share his personal memory of the event, making the reality of the attacks come alive for them.
Last year, Simone Elkeles, the author of the popular teen novel Perfect Chemistry, came to share details about her life as an author. This inspired many students to read her books and consider the possibility of one day becoming a writer.
The student body would greatly benefit from the school’s hosting of more guests of this kind, even if this means requiring that students sign up individually to attend the event or having the speakers come after school as opposed to during the day. Inviting inspiring, funny, and interesting people to our school to share what they have to say would open up students’ eyes to new topics and ideas.
“I think we should have old Bulldog Hour” – Julia Bobosky
A return to the old version of Bulldog Hour (where students are given a period of free study time on Thursdays) is favored by many students. Students complain that with the new Wednesday “Bulldog Hour” many teachers either forget or decide not to implement the designated allotment of “intervention time.” Many students feel that leaving “Bulldog Hour” solely up to the jurisdiction of individual teachers takes away from the success of the arrangement.
Many students expected the new “Bulldog Hour” to be 30 minutes in each Wednesday class to catch up on work or ask questions of their teacher. However, the current setup was implemented as a time for teachers to focus on going over challenging or typically overlooked material or skills.
While the original, hour-long Bulldog Hour was far from perfect, many students are unhappy with the new setup and are still hankering for yet another change.