The student media site of Blue Springs South High School

The student media site of Blue Springs South High School

The student media site of Blue Springs South High School


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Students react to newest version of Jag Hour

Picture of the title slide of a Thrive presentation on accountability. South has implemented the Thrive program into Jag Hour.
Laci Winship
Picture of the title slide of a Thrive presentation on accountability. South has implemented the Thrive program into Jag Hour.

The Jag

Thrive lessons and study halls make up 41 minutes of the school day every Wednesday and Thursday. The new schedule has mixed feedback from students and teachers.

Jag Hour isn’t new in terms of how long it’s been here, but its version seems to be new every year. This year’s change has come with some push-back.

Unlike last year, where Jag Hour was between fourth and fifth hour, now it comes in between sixth and seventh hour.

Senior Andrew Cain disagrees with this change.

“I feel like the big problem with Jag Hour is that it’s in between sixth and seventh hour, which at that time, we’re tired, we just want to go home. I feel like [in between] fifth and sixth hour would have been better,” says Cain. He says that he doesn’t understand what the administration was thinking when they changed the time.

“I feel like that it should be probably earlier in the day,” says junior Vera Parbel about Jag Hour’s time, “just so you can get your stuff done before class.”

Junior Samual Orme agrees with Cain. He says that he doesn’t like Jag Hour after sixth period and would also rather it be after fifth because of his classes.

Maloree Huckaby, sophomore, also doesn’t like the time change. However, she would rather Jag Hour to be at the end of the day.

“I wish it was after seventh hour instead of sixth, it feels like a weird time of the day,” says Huckaby. “I would change it to be after seventh hour and we just leave school from that.”

Chemistry teacher Daniel Sundberg enjoys the change of time. He thinks that it’s better for students and easier for them to get most of their work done after most of their periods.

“With it being pretty much at the end of the day, I like that students have most of their day under their belt,” says Sundberg. “And what I find is that, I won’t say high achieving, but students that like staying ahead, not having homework and are super busy outside, like that’s built into the end of the day.”

Some students have thoughts about how often South has Jag Hour.

Parbel is one of those students.

“I wish that it was more than two days a week because often I’ll have homework due on Tuesdays, and then I won’t have time to get it done,” she says.

English teacher Kristina Williams also wants more Jag Hours during the week.

“I’d like to have it every day, but I also get why we don’t have it every day. Because we do have kids who don’t use it appropriately and so, why give them five days to use it inappropriately? But at least we’re giving it to those who do use it correctly; we’re giving them a couple of days during the week to get that stuff done,”

Orme, however, says he likes Jag Hour on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Because they seem natural,” says Orme when asked why. “Like the first two days of the week, you’re getting ready for the week and then Friday, you’re just ready to get out.”

Another thing that has been added to Jag Hour is the career-based classroom arrangement. This year, students have been organized into different classrooms for Jag Hour based on the career choice they filled out when they signed up for school.

This change has been taken in different ways.

“I actually like it better than last year,” says sophomore Sunset Moore, “But I think it can get a little confusing.”

She says that leaving and going to another class confused her at the beginning of the year.

Huckaby also likes the class adjustment.

“[I like it] because it’s different. You get to be with different kids, and you get to meet new teachers in the school,” she says.

Senior Ella Hill dislikes the change. She says that moving around to another classroom is too confusing.

“I think it was easier when you were just able to stay in your classroom. I think it also makes it less confusing then, because people just know to stay in the classroom until the bell rings and they don’t have to…remember to go to another classroom,” Hill says.

Parbel would like the career separation to be better organized.

“I would keep the new teacher thing (going to another classroom) but kids decide personally what they want to go into,” she says, “I know some kids got into professions that they absolutely do not want to go into. Like, I got into a business for some reason, but I’m into cybersecurity.”

Sundberg says that he sees the good and the bad to the career classroom difference.

“I have mostly science-major, college-bound kids…Now some switched their minds since they last took their Xello training or whatever, but I like that as a science teacher. I have students that want to go into a science major and are taking science classes. … Whereas if I had a room full of future journalist majors or art majors, like I’ve got nothing for them.”

Principle Ryan Gettings explains the reason for the changes to Jag Hour.

The reason that Jag Hour was moved down to between sixth and seventh period is because of the off-campus programs, like CIC [Career Innovation Center]. The students who come back from those activities sometimes come back in the middle of Jag Hour or after it. So, they lose that extra time. Gettings says that to move Jag Hour to later in the day fits better with their schedules.

Gettings also explains why there are only two days allotted to Jag Hour.

“What became apparent is that we were missing some instructional time. Obviously, when you have Jag Hour every day you cut your instructional time and classes down. … That’s quite a bit of instructional time that we cut out,” he says.

Gettings says that he’s looking toward the future about Jag Hour.

Picture of the Xello website opened up on a computer. Xello is a program that helps students find careers based off their interests. South has students work on it during Jag Hour. (Laci Winship)

“So bigger picture, we would eventually like to be able to…group students together that have a similar career interest down the road. And then ultimately even get to a point where that group of students is paired with a teacher that also has a similar passion or interest in those areas. … And the other part to that as to why it’s per grade level is we’re, over time, building out on this Thrive idea, this Thrive program.”

Thrive is a program that is based around giving students skills and life lessons that they’ll use later in life through videos, discussions, and stories. South has adopted this program and put it into play during Jag Hour.

Gettings says that eventually he would like to get to a point where there is a Thrive specific to freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, but it could take some time to achieve that.

To deal with students changing their mind on their careers is a different story, however.

“We’ve got figure that out,” says Gettings. “How we did it [organizing students by career] is when you register online, there’s an area on there that asked for that information…and we pull from that. So, if someone changes or wants to change that then we’ve got to figure out a way to get that person in the right class. How we do that is still something we’ve got to work out.”

Gettings says that he isn’t the only person making these big decisions. They talk about it as a staff as well and in small groups.

Why do we have Jag Hour? What’s the goal of it? Gettings says that it’s to give students extra academic help.

“The ultimate big piece is for students to have a chance during the week to get extra support with their school day, with their classes, to get academic support. To be quite honest with you, Jag Hour wasn’t designed, necessarily for, ‘Hey I missed the test on Wednesday because I was gone, I’m going to go in my Jag Hour and I’m going to take the test that day and get it done.’ We can utilize it that way, that’s fine. But that’s not the what the original intent necessarily was with Jag Hour.” he says.

He says that Jag Hour is primarily there for time to get some extra help for students who are struggling.

Another goal of Jag Hour is to teach students life lessons with Thrive.

“I feel pretty strong in the idea that there are some things that we’ve, as a school and as people, that we’ve got to make some strides in.” Gettings says. “It’s to give you opportunities to have as much success as you possibly can when you leave high school.”

Sundberg offers some advice for teachers and students who are still not sure about this new schedule.

“I would encourage students to just be flexible. This is still something we’re trying to figure out…we will get better each year. What kills me is when students are automatic. When you start a Thrive lesson and students are automatically tuned out. Like no, this is born from a good place, so let’s be critical of it, but at the same time, let’s try to execute it and do it, do it well,” Sundberg says.

This Jag Hour might not be permanent, however. Gettings says that there are possibilities that Jag Hour could change again. He says, however, that he’s glad that the school can offer some extra help during the day and that they’ll keep working to find what works best for South.

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