As you can imagine, with the school day divided into nine periods, the actual time students spend in class will be about 40 minutes, which means that the extended time for guided and independent practice will be shortened. That's why we have study halls. They are built into the schedule to allow students to have guided practice time with a teacher in the room to provide assistance, and for independent practice. With a Monday-Friday, Tuesday-Thursday format for elective courses and P.E., that means most students will have between 2 and 3 study halls a day, which averages out to about 80 minutes for guided and independent practice. That's about what they would have at the end of each class if they were on a block schedule. Study halls are NOT "free periods." They are to be used in the same way that time left over in class would be used after the teacher has taught the objective.
Students are required to take courses in the core subject areas of history, math, science, English and Bible, and supplemental courses in Computer Applications, Physical Education and Foreign Language. That’s seven classes, with PE being offered two periods per week. Depending on the electives, and the grade level, that leaves from two to three periods a day open. So in order to meet the state instructional time requirement, those periods are scheduled as study halls. The academic rigor of the curriculum at PCS is such that a student wisely using study hall time will not have any trouble finding enough work to do.
In order to qualify as instructional time, a study hall must be monitored and supervised by a teacher to make sure that students are involved in guided or independent practice (doing homework assignments) or are using the study hall time to prepare for tests or complete class projects. This is the same sort of activity in which they would be engaged if they were in a class period of 60 or 70 minutes in a block schedule, the only difference being that they have changed classrooms, and are not necessarily with one of their core subject instructors.
Teachers who are assigned to supervise study halls are given a specific list of instructions regarding the way the class is to be managed. The expectation is that the study hall will provide an atmosphere that is conducive to study, and that the teacher will check to see that the students are spending the majority of their time on academic work. If a student utilizes his “independent practice” time in study hall, grades will show improvement and the amount of homework he brings home will be noticeably reduced.
Both the objectives of individual courses, and the coursework requirements for graduation from PCS exceed the standards set by the state department of education. In addition to the Bible class requirement, students at PCS are required to take one extra year of science, math, social studies and foreign language in order to graduate. So having two or three study halls per day is not a problem, as long as students are assisted in the management of their time by the teachers, and encouraged by their parents. Your help, and support of this arrangement, is crucial to its success.