Written by Stephen Zumpano |
Photos by Isaac Eriksen |
A new period has been added to the Morgan schedule. It’s called X-Block and the reason it was created, according to Principal Keri Hagness is because “the committee felt that the students needed more time to meet with teachers, and they wanted to make it easier to meet in clubs.” Mrs. Hagness also thinks the new addition is positive for students because “it validates how students and staff can come up with ideas that will help them participate more.” Furthermore, she “liked the fact that kids were bringing their guitars and openly playing in the courtyard.” She has certain ideas such as “we can have teachers bring in speakers if they can’t fit it into their schedules.” It was also noted that “if there’s a certain subject, we’ll address it,” and she “would hope that students would tell me what they want to do during this time.”
There are endless amounts of opportunities for students during this period. The Guidance Department has been planning lots of different workshops and seminars for students to attend. Guidance Counselor Joni Capobianco said, “During X-Block we’re going to do a variety of new programs.” One of these is a program for different careers that will be available for all grades. According to Miss Capobianco, “We’re going to bring in a new speaker every month with different careers.” These career seminars will be taped, so that if students are not able to attend, the Guidance Department will be posting them on their website, so students will have access to all of the seminars on there. The Guidance Department will also be hosting seminars for specific grades, and right now, there are going to be a lot for seniors. Miss Capobianco mentioned that some of the seminars for seniors will be focusing on college applications, letters of recommendation, and she also mentioned that “they are really helpful, because you can bring your Chromebook and work on applications right there.” She also said “as the year progresses, seminars will change for whoever needs it at that time. It’s supposed to take the stress off of the big things.”
This new period even brings activities for kids who play sports. Every week, kids will be able to go play games in the gym. Physical Education Teacher Peter Gersz is hosting this new play time in the gym. There’s a game for everyone in the gym. Mr. Gersz said “You kind of know what they want, and then we offer those.” Also, students are “able to make suggestions for the next week.”
Perhaps, the most important opinion of this new addition is from the students. Junior Juan Avila likes it because “it’s like a study, and kids can meet with their teachers if they want, so I guess it’s a good idea.” Freshman Will Roberts had a similar opinion. He likes it because “you can do whatever you want. For example, hang out with friends, do homework…” However, Will also thought that “the period is too short. It’s not enough time for long term things such as a basketball game.” There was further conversation about any negatives for students because of this new period. Furthermore, Juan doesn’t see any disadvantages. He thinks “it’s a good thing so far because kids can get a good break in.” Will also mentioned that he “would like to see more sports, both indoor and outdoor.” He also thought of having study groups, where there could be “an area that kids can go and do work quietly and independently or in groups.” Hopefully, the administration could take some of these ideas into consideration.
The faculty also has some opinions as to how this period is going to affect them. Spanish Teacher Susan Peterson doesn’t think it affects her schedule in a bad way. In fact, she said “I think this X-Block gives me a chance to make contact with my students who are maybe unable to come after school and I can reach out to those kids.” Mrs. Peterson also said “I think that with the long periods it’s just a great idea for students to have time. And I think it just gives a little bit of free time during the day if kids need to get one or two things done and get in contact with a teacher if needed.”
First impressions of this new addition seemed to be mostly positive. Mrs. Hagness said “From the feedback I got, it went really well. I think students were enjoying the downstairs area. Guidance said it went really well, so I think it was overall well-received. I haven’t heard any students say it was chaotic.” Mrs. Peterson shared her thoughts by saying “I think it was positive. I think that students felt like they had some freedom and that they handled it well and they liked being treated like adults.” Miss Capobianco said that it was “just wonderful”, and she mentioned how she was involved with a college seminar for seniors. She liked the fact that students were “asking questions and had the opportunity to get immediate answers.” She also added that “we had about 20 kids come, and I could literally see the stress melting off all their faces,” so overall, the first impressions were very positive.
This new addition is a positive force in the Morgan community and it’s here to stay.