PHS Bell Committee to enact mid-morning break

graphic by <span class="credit credit- "><a href="/credit/"Helen/" title="View all of this person's work">"Helen</a></span>

graphic by Helen Schrayer

Beginning Monday June 5, the PHS Bell Committee will be instituting a mid-morning break through the addition of twelve minutes in between second and third period. This break will take place for the next two weeks and serve as an experiment for the committee in hopes of decreasing student stress.

The twelve minute break consists of the four minute passing time between second and third period, as well as an additional eight minutes which was collected by taking one minute off each period.

“We just want students to have a chance to catch their breath because we know it is exhausting going several classes in a row without a break,” said Dr. Robert Corell, a chemistry teacher and a member of the Bell Committee. “As a committee, before we have any major changes, we want to try a minor change that will be successful.”

Timothy Campbell, a history teacher and a member of the Bell Committee, observed that especially in the morning, teachers have a significant number of students asking to go to the bathroom, fill up their water bottles, or eat a quick snack. Campbell hopes many of these issues can be resolved by the break.

While some PHS students are excited that the school district has decided to take action to try to eliminate student stress, others expressed concerns that this change will not have a huge impact on improving student wellness.

“I don’t think a break will reduce stress a lot, but for [activities] like going to the bathroom or getting a snack that usually interrupt class [the break will help],” said Jasmine Xu ’18.

Students apprehensive to the new change in schedule find that their uncertainty comes from the limited time frame during the break.

“I think it’s nice that the school is trying to destress the students, but a twelve minute break doesn’t seem functional to me because you can’t do that much in twelve minutes,” said Maddie Schwimmer ’17.

Abby Emison ’17, a student body liaison to the Princeton Board of Education, asserted that although the break does not add a lot of free time to the day, she still thinks it would help reduce student stress in the morning.

“Five classes in a row can often wear out students and we hope the break will shake up their mornings to allow for less stress and less of a cramped schedule,” said Emison.

Some students suggested utilizing the extra eight minutes and extending it to the thirty minute lunch break. According to Corell, this suggestion is a point of interest the Bell Committee is looking to investigate more closely.

“[An extension of break] is a question we’ve been wrestling with as a committee.  We don’t have the answers but this [morning break] is a first test to try and do something to help reduce stress not just for the students but also for the faculty,” Corell said.

Emison also mentioned the importance of students being vocal about their thoughts and ideas on how to diminish student stress. “I think all students should feel comfortable voicing their ideas to members of student council to make sure they are doing everything they can to cater to the students,” Emison said.

Student feedback on the mid-morning break will be utilized by the Bell Committee to determine whether they will include it in the 2017-2018 daily schedule or look for other alternatives.

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