Welcoming STAR Period to the Chamblee Schedule

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Welcoming STAR Period to the Chamblee Schedule

Science teacher DeAnn Peterson helps a student during STAR period.

Science teacher DeAnn Peterson helps a student during STAR period.

Photo by Ashley Veazey.

Science teacher DeAnn Peterson helps a student during STAR period.

Photo by Ashley Veazey.

Photo by Ashley Veazey.

Science teacher DeAnn Peterson helps a student during STAR period.

Oliver Hurst, Staff writer

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Chamblee Charter High School is known for being stressful. Students take hard courses and involve themselves with as many extracurriculars as possible, leaving little time for homework and relaxation. This year, however, Chamblee hopes to alleviate some of the stress by creating STAR period, a 20-minute study hall between third and fourth period.

Principal Gail Barnes recognizes student stress, stating that it was instrumental in creating STAR period.

“[Chamblee] had to do something,” said Barnes. “We know that so many of our kids either get here by bus and need time for breakfast or have activities after school with mandatory practices. And we know 20 minutes may not be much time, but 20 minutes can have an impact on all our students. Long term, we hope STAR period will improve graduation rate and decrease failures.”

This new mini period can be used however students like; they can get help from teachers, make-up quizzes, do homework, or just relax.

Although it has been less than a month into the school year, the period has been widely praised by students and teachers alike. 

“[I am] actually really enjoying the STAR period,” said junior Hangatu Green. “It gives me time to catch up on any homework I didn’t finish up the night before or go to teachers for tutorials because I don’t have time after school.”

Green has already utilized the time to help with her classes.

“Last week I used two of my star periods to do test corrections for AP Psychology, and the other two [to] finalize any unfinished homework assignments and catch up with some friends,” said Green.

Photo by Ashley Veazey.
Students use STAR period to study and review course material.

For science teacher Dr. Kathryn Zuehlke, STAR period has already allowed students to make up tests without having to stay late and disrupt class. STAR period has also been extremely helpful because of the classes she is teaching this year.

“[I am] very thankful because I teach periods one through five,” said Dr. Zuehlke. “And I teach chemistry, chemistry, AP chemistry [during third period], and then chemistry, chemistry [again]. I was really worried about having AP Chem sandwiched in the middle, but now star period comes after AP chemistry. So if we need a little extra time, we have it.” 

English teacher Jimmy Demer appreciates the down time that STAR period gives to students.

“I had a study hall when I was in school,” said Demer. “And I think you guys are rushed from the moment you get here at 8:00 until 3:20. I think you need some time to just be able to do some work or to just breathe for a few minutes.”

To make time in the day for this mini period, the administration had to get creative.

“We took a minute from every period, decreased the overlap in lunchtime, and shortened the lunches,” said Barnes. 

That said, students seem to think STAR period was worth it.

“I think they did a pretty good job of integrating it; something had to go,” said senior Caedmon Isaacson. “Shortening lunch [was not] great, but [it is] not the worst thing. I think it was a worthwhile trade.” 

Furthermore, some teachers seem to like how STAR period caused fourth period to be slightly shorter.

“There used to be a lot of time in fourth period that was tough to fill,” said Dr. Zuehlke. “But now, fourth period is closer in length to the other classes, so I don’t feel like I’m spending a half hour of just watching kids play on their phone and that sort of thing.”

Like all things, however, STAR period is a privilege for students. 

“To all the students of Chamblee, please make [STAR Period] work,” said science teacher Shaheen Begum. “It is a very valuable tool that you have to complete homework to prepare for quizzes, to make up quizzes, to get some intervention from teachers, or to get peer tutoring. So, please make it work. It is upon the students because if it is abused, then it will go away, like things have in the past.”