The Editor's Journal: A radical idea

I have a radical proposition: L-S will be a better school if we decrease instructional time.

Of course, such an outcome is contingent on a concurrent increase in time available for students to participate in clubs during the confines of the school day. In the last two years, most clubs have seen a 50% decrease in available meeting time as the RTII cycle has gone from a one-week rotation to a two-week rotation (beginning last year, RTII no longer simply cycled students among their four classes in successive order, but shuttled them to a "group" RTII on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and had them cycle to their four classes every two weeks on Tuesday and Thursday).

Consequently, many clubs are finding it harder to meet, which makes it harder to plan events, which makes it harder to promote the causes these clubs were founded to promote, be those causes Asian culture, school spirit, gay rights, or a love for trivia.

Clubs enrich school life. Personally, I have learned and grown more through club participation than through academic activity.
L-S offers a wide range of clubs (pictured top to bottom): LS News, Thespian Society, Varsity Club,
Student Council, GSA, Aevidum, Spanish Club, and FCS.

Every student, yes every single student, should have the opportunity to be in a club that interests them and channels their curiosities and encourages them to invest in the people around them and the teachers around them. Concurrently, every teacher should advise or co-advise a club. Teacher engagement is as pivotal to building culture as anything, and teachers should welcome the opportunity to engage students in one of their own interest areas.

There's one other missing piece to the puzzle: seniors. Presently, most seniors take advantage of "senior privilege", which allows them to depart school at 1:55 and skip RTII. In other words, with a handful of exceptions, seniors do not participate in clubs.

In talking to some teachers, this has not always been the case; in fact, school spirit was at its highest when it was the seniors (plural -- as it not just the handful now) who were leading and participating in the clubs and spearheading endeavors around the school … underclassmen responded to calls for help and invitations to events when it was someone to whom they looked up at the helm. When seniors leave, clubs falter.

When we exclude large swaths of the population, we miss out on unique perspectives. Presently, our clubs tend to exclude seniors, music students (whose rehearsals are in RTII), and students in need of remediation.

I don't purport to have the answer, but I do have the big question:

How can we, as a school, reimagine and reinvigorate club participation during the school day in a way that engages students AND faculty to include all members of our school community without putting undue strain on instructional time?

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