Students Receive Unwanted Study Hall Class


Students in study hall are able to get their classwork and homework done for other classes.

Hannah Friel and Kenyon Watson, Staff Writers

This school year, due to a declining enrollment and less funding from Educational Foundation of Orinda (EFO) and Parents’ Club, many students who requested periods one through six were instead given alternatives. While some received first period off, others were given six classes of their choice and a period of study hall. Although this mainly affected the junior class, students from all grades were unsatisfied with their schedules.

According to Principal Adam Clark, there were multiple variables that led to this problem. The primary issue was a decline in student enrollment compared to last year’s numbers. This year’s freshman class has 44 fewer students than the class that just graduated.

“As enrollment drops, the number of teachers we can hire drops, which means we have limited sections available for students,” Clark said. “This creates an issue, because as there are less sections available per period, more classes are full and students aren’t always granted their elective or honors classes.”

Some electives, such as Journalism 1 and Yearbook, are only offered during one period. These electives are known as singletons.

“The counselors have to work around your required classes and any singletons that might be in your schedule. When they started creating schedules, although they tried to honor every request, sometimes there was a gap period in a schedule, which means they had to place a study hall period there,” Clark said.

This problem didn’t occur last year because Parents’ Club and EFO were able to fund more sections, but due to the budget crisis, EFO and Parents’ Club has given more funds to the district so that Miramonte can maintain librarians, counselors, and all of the main classes instead of just pointing at individual sections. Although both foundations are still able to fund some classes, they weren’t able to fund as many classes this year. This is because the money they raised had to be spread throughout the district.

Miramonte also has many part-time teachers who are limited to teaching certain periods, usually in the morning or afternoon. This further limits when specific classes are offered.

When students first received their schedules on Mats Day, many saw that they were given a study hall period and complained to the counselors right away. After some students switched out, 80 students remain in study hall.

“Our counselors started working on requests right after Mats Day,” Clark said.

Although the administration and counselors received a fair number of complaints in the beginning, Clark said the complaints have stopped, and students seem to be either satisfied or making the best of their situation.

According to sophomore Rory Howells, study hall has been a positive addition to his schedule.

“At first I was really upset that I was given study hall, but now that I’m in the class, I realize I’m actually able to finish my homework or study for a test,” Howells said. “It’s a great time in the middle of my morning to relax and unwind from the pressure of school.”

However, other students don’t share the same mentality as Howells. “I wish I could’ve changed my schedule so I could have six classes instead of seven,” junior Sarah Mills said. “I like study hall, but having six classes would have worked with my after school schedule better.”

Although most students who were enrolled in study hall were unsatisfied with their situation in the beginning, the majority have come to terms with their predicament and are making the best of it.