What’s Next for Power Hour

Photo: MHS Redline

Photo: MHS Redline

Jenna Leon, Opinion Editor

At the beginning of 2014, a new idea was implemented into the Manchester High School culture, creating yet another schedule change for the students and staff of MHS. During the prior school year, Manchester superintendent Matthew Geary purposed an hour in the middle of the day for not only lunch, but for students to have an opportunity to better themselves academically by meeting with teachers and using the extra time to catch up on work.

The past year Principal Krieger has dealt with some of the unexpected challenges that have come along with power hour, the most prominent problem being that academic success in the student body, while it has not decreased, has not increased either. Due to the fighting, the lack of respect toward the adults in the school, and the mess created in the hallways and classrooms, power hour has not worked as well as expected.

This year there were even a few occurrences where Principal Krieger decided to remove power hour for a day or two as a reminder to be on our best behavior. However, the staff saw a spark ignite among students of all grades; a spark that greatly resembled entitlement. Because the students are so used to be granted an entire hour that at this point, they use as free time, when it is taken away they feel as if it is an unfair punishment. The students now think it is their right to have power hour.

So what does the future of power hour look like?

The rumor is that power hour will be eliminated from our schedule and we will return to a regular lunch wave schedule for next year, but this may not be the case.

As a member of the committee that is working to find a solution, Mr. Larson discloses that a final decision has not been made yet. Several teachers have traveled to schools in the Massachusetts and New Hampshire areas to connect with administrations that have adopted power hour-like “flex period” schedules that seem to work well. The most successful programs, though, are the ones that have had years of preparation and a gradual implementation. Larson says that it will be most important to not only have student input and support but support from teachers, staff, administration, and ultimately, Mr. Geary.

Mr. Geary expressed that he is in full cooperation with whatever the teachers deem fit as long as a flexible time remains. He agrees that to ensure that the students are using the time to its fullest capacity, it will need to be strengthened.

A new schedule for next year won’t be finalized until the end of the summer as the committee continues to research and work through the challenges that power hour has recently presented.

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