Letters to the Editor / Opinion

Administrators reply: Why study hall is back in Waldo

Dear Hallmanac Editors,

We are writing in response to Meghan Kelley’s Opinion article that appeared in the Hallmanac on March 26, 2015. The article, entitled “Move Study Hall Back to the Library,” argued that required study halls for ninth and tenth graders should be relocated back to the Library, out of Waldo, as they were in the fall when Waldo was in the final stages of remodeling.

One of the challenges of proctored daytime study halls is that this resource serves different functions for different students. For ninth and tenth graders assigned to study halls, this time provides students with an opportunity to work ahead, study for tests/quizzes, review notes, and generally stay organized and on top of their work. We know from feedback solicited from both students and Library staff that the Library was an excellent place for these students to achieve the aforementioned goals.

The other primary purpose of study halls, though, is to allow students in all grade levels a quiet, proctored space in which to make up tests and quizzes. This is where the Library proved to be difficult for students and proctors alike. Yes, we did move the D Block study halls to the Lecture Hall, but several departments (most notably the Science Department) often use that space during D Block, and they were unable to do so all fall. Faculty and students felt that we were not able to adequately proctor tests and quizzes in the library space.

We do not have enough faculty proctors to station proctors in both the Library (for students assigned to Study Hall) and Waldo (for students making up tests/quizzes). So, in January, we decided that we had to move daytime study halls back to Waldo, to better accommodate the many students who use that time to complete tests/quizzes. This may not be a perfect solution for all, but we felt that it was the best available option, given what daytime study halls are designed to do.

Both of us are happy to speak with students about this decision; we welcome the opportunity for open and honest dialogue, both through the Hallmanac and in person.

Jessica Keimowitz, Upper School Director, and Kristin Ryan, Dean of Students

Photo: Students studying in Waldo. Photo credit: Karen Keely.