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Pascack Period: New changes for the better?

February 26, 2016

Pascack Period undergoes further changes

Underclassmen no longer allowed to roam the halls

Students+who+refused+to+take+the+PARCC+were+required+to+sit+in+the+auditorium+while+the+exam+took+place.
Students who refused to take the PARCC were required to sit in the auditorium while the exam took place.

Students who refused to take the PARCC were required to sit in the auditorium while the exam took place.

Curstine Guevarra

Curstine Guevarra

Students who refused to take the PARCC were required to sit in the auditorium while the exam took place.

Through trial and error, the Pascack Valley administration has been figuring out the exact way it wants to run the Pascack Period since its implementation at the beginning of last year.

This past Wednesday marked the start of only the latest modification to the system. Going forward, a new “quiet study” is to be held in the auditorium for freshman and sophomore students. Those who are not signed up for a class or do not stay in homeroom are required to attend.

Essentially, the administration is aiming to cut down on the amount of underclassmen who spend their Pascack Period in the hallways. This move limits those students’ choices to one of three options: class, homeroom, or the new quiet study. If your homeroom teacher also teaches a class, you are open to going to another homeroom.

“I would obviously encourage students to take a [Pascack Period] class and use this time effectively,” said PV Assistant Principal John Puccio, who spoke to sophomores Wednesday about the change and plans on doing the same with the freshman sometime next week. He said that the quiet study is a good alternative for underclassmen students to complete their assignments in a stress-free environment.

The move was likely prompted by the shortening of the Freshman Seminar this year. After listening to feedback and criticism from students about last year’s handling of the seminar, it was decided that the mandatory freshman-only class would take place during the first half of the year rather than the full year. Since the halfway point has now come and gone, there have been more freshmen with no place to go during the period.

It’s about listening to the kids, seeing what’s better, and doing what is best for the kids.”

— PV Assistant Principal John Puccio

“I know that sometimes there were kids out there doing work while others were not,” said sophomore Amy Santo, who is not signed up for any courses. She plans on visiting another homeroom during her weekly Pascack Period, preferably Mrs. Argine Safari’s homeroom because she typically holds rehearsals in there and it is a good place to get work done.

“The idea of the quiet study is a good one, but I don’t know how many people will actually take use of it,” she added.

A change like this does not come without scheduling conflicts, of course. Puccio noted that with the amount of guest speakers and assemblies that will inevitably take place in the auditorium, scheduling will be a challenge, and they will have to adjust accordingly. In fact, the sophomore class already had an assembly about their class rings just last Wednesday, and the first half of the quiet study had to be held in the cafeteria. 

Puccio made it clear that the administration is flexible and does not know whether or not this will be a permanent solution going forward. He said that they will see if the quiet study works the way they hope, and decide from there.

“It’s about listening to the kids, seeing what’s better, and doing what is best for the kids,” he said.

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    Pascack Period: Time for us… to do what others want

    Student downtime overshadowed by assemblies

    (Disclaimer: The individuals that have expressed their opinions in the following article are responsible for their own opinions alone. The Smoke Signal welcomes dissenting opinions via Op Eds or letters to the editor.)

    Pascack Period is a time for students to do their work, relax, talk with friends, and take classes that interest them but may not already be in their curriculum.

    In short, it is a time for students. Or is it?

    Though we have the choice to take the classes we want, they are constantly interrupted by assemblies. I personally haven’t been able to keep up with my own Pascack Period class, SAT Prep, throughout the course of the year. I am getting less preparation than I initially expected, and that may end up impacting my future. Others haven’t been able to get the full impact of their classes as well.

    I think [the assemblies] are stupid because I have work to get done, and people who have clubs during the time can’t go because of assemblies that don’t matter.”

    — PV Junior Allie Malc

    Shannon Miles, a junior, said that the assemblies “are a good idea but people don’t really care about them.”

    Though many of these assemblies are important, the point of Pascack Period is to allow students to pursue their interests and to have some downtime to de-stress. According to Miles, we can’t exactly do that when the classes we sign up for are constantly being interrupted by these assemblies.

    “I think [the assemblies] are stupid because I have work to get done, and people who have clubs during the time can’t go because of assemblies that don’t matter,” junior Alexandra Malc said.

    Perhaps, the administration could make these assemblies optional instead; this way those who wish to go can, and those who don’t won’t have to.

    Not only that, but the classes we have a chance to take are limited. There is some variety, but many focus more on physical aspects rather than true old fashioned lessons on interesting and unconventional subjects.

    Another downside is that many popular classes are not continued throughout the year. Many classes only last for half of the year, not allowing for a full year of learning to take place. How can one expect to learn all there is to know about a certain subject when the weekly class is often interrupted and only lasts for a limited period of time?

    Not everyone in the school has a choice on how to spend their time. Freshmen are confined to Freshman Seminar, which simply shows how they are not viewed in the same light as upperclassmen and are not given the same privileges. Since they have just come out of middle school, allowing them the opportunity to pursue new things should be a given. They are the future of this school, after all, so making them feel as part of the school community should be of top priority. But apparently it isn’t.

    “We really don’t do anything [in Freshman Seminar]. It’s a waste of time,” freshman Megan Costello said.

    Pascack Period is our time. So please, let us have it.

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