Bring back student choice


WS students, do you remember Spartan Time? Oh, you don’t? Neither do we; the Class of 2019 was the last to enjoy Spartan Time during their freshman year before it was replaced by the more structured learning seminar. With the WS renovation completed, we think it is time to bring back a revised form of Spartan Time for the benefit of the students.

As it is currently, learning seminar is frequently a significant waste of time. There is hardly any consistency in lessons and limited flexibility in going to get help from teachers. Students find themselves busy with videos and assignments one LS and idle the next. Sometimes this built in free time is helpful for students who are looking to make up work for other classes, unless the teacher decides to teach (they are technically only supposed to review) during the period, in which the student’s plans are out the window. 

Spartan Time, for those who are unaware, was a form of student choice time that was previously instituted here at WS. Students who did not have any Ds or Fs on their report cards were considered “Spartans in Good Standing” so, they were allowed to choose where they wanted to go in order to meet their need that day. For example, students would go to the gym to play sports, the cafeteria to meet with friends, or a teacher’s classroom to catch up on their work or just take a mental break from the stresses of school.

However, through research and communicating with those who experienced Spartan Time, we found out that it was highly controversial amongst the staff due to its unstructured and chaotic nature. Security had a hard time accounting for all of the students in the various, uncertain locations, and some teachers did not approve of the unconventional school environment. Nonetheless, many teachers found it to be extremely helpful, not only for completing work, but for their students to have a personal choice on how to better themselves academically and in regards to getting a break in the day for mental health.

Bringing back the original concept of Spartan Time would be a headache for administration, but the current structure of learning seminar does not benefit the students as much as it could. We suggest that WS adopts a new version of student choice time that has the possibility of addressing everyone’s needs. We think the most progressive solution would be to have a rotating LS schedule of forty-five minutes of LS1, then LS2 the next Blue day, then LS3, etc, and then forty-five minutes of student choice time similar to what Spartan Time used to provide. This would satisfy the need to have required lessons during LS time, but it would also give students a chance to determine what’s best for them in terms of academics or personal time. It would be in the students’ best academic interest to bring back this flexibility that promotes good study habits and allows them to better manage stress.