Study Table a Great Idea That Needs to be Tweaked

Delaney Hannan, Contributing Reporter

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Thirty minutes between 1st and 2nd block.

“Well thought through but a waste of time.”

A good idea but not productive.”

All three of these statements describe Linn-Mar’s “Study Table,” a new schedule that is being tried out on four Thursdays in the 2018 school year, in hopes that it will be liked well enough that it can be implemented every Thursday starting in the 2019 school year. The goal of this new Study Table is for students with an incomplete or an F in a class to go to their teacher and get the help they need to get their grade up, or to make up the assignments that are incomplete. Teachers can also request students to come to their room at this time if they feel they need extra help or if a student requests to come.

The Study Table is a great idea but there are some problems. First, most teachers have anywhere from 0-15 students in their room to get extra help, so those who need individual attention still may not get what they need. Second, skinny classes are 45 minutes long and block classes are 85 minutes long. One half hour is not enough time for students to make up missing tests or quizzes that were designed to be taken in a skinny or block format. Because such a short amount of time is allotted, students will have to come in multiple times, or many weeks in a row just to get caught up.

Instead of throwing in 30 minutes between classes to help students, a whole school day or even a half day would be more effective and useful. Instead of Study Table being held every Thursday, it could be changed to every other Thursday or even one Thursday a month. In addition to that, students who are caught up and passing all their classes would get a day off or a half day off, which would be motivation for students to get their work done and their grades up so they can earn this time off school.

People in favor of the current Study Table format say that 30 minutes should be enough time to do what’s needed if students stay on task and work hard. They maintain that if students can’t remain focused on work for those 30 minutes, how are they supposed to concentrate for a whole day? Let’s assume that many of the kids required to attend Study Table and who would be coming in repeatedly would be the kids that are failing, perhaps due to excessive absences, behavior issues or lack of motivation. In that case, then a whole day would be necessary to secure enough time to get students focused and on task, since it might take them longer.

When administrators were asked about having a Study Table for a half day or full day, they expressed concern that required students would skip the whole day. They reason that it is easier to get these students to show up for Study Table if they are already at school.  Surely there is a way to make it mandatory for those who need the Study Table to show up to school on Study Table days. If they don’t show up, or if they’re not called out for a valid reason, they could serve detention or face other possibly penalties.

Overall, Study Table is a good idea and a step in the right direction to get students the help they need. It would be more beneficial, however, if it were changed to a whole school day or a half day to ensure there’s enough time for the students to get completely caught up or ask all the necessary questions. If the administration was to make that change, then it would be valued in the way they intend it to be.