Let’s talk about homeroom: skepticism and concerns

Sarah Seitz, Staff Writer

    At the beginning of the year, Mr. Freeman announced that homerooms would become weekly. Students were confused about the purpose, and concerned about the cut class time for the first period. The new changes in homeroom were unexpected to students and many are unaware of how it’s going to continue throughout the year.

    Teachers’ initial reactions to homeroom were mixed; some were hopeful about the curriculum being introduced while others were skeptical. 

    Emily Beach is a ceramics art teacher here at RJR.

“My initial reaction was hesitant because we had some issues with homeroom last year, but I was open-minded about the new SEL curriculum provided by Project Wayfinder.” Beach said. 

    She highlights her concern about the extensive class cut to first period and teachers responsibility to make up for class time. 

    “My first-period classes are much further behind other classes. They are missing essential instruction and rushing through assignments to try to get work completed. I feel like it is creating an educational inequity.” Beach said. 

   Having noticed first period students are falling behind and missing important class time, Beach feels as if she’s having to do more work to push students forward.

    Students in the first period aren’t the only ones falling behind. Career Center students that are required in the morning have been cut out of the loop. 

    James Hailey, a Junior at RJR, travels back and forth to the Career Center for the first and second period.

    “I feel in the dark a lot of the time, mainly relying on other people to tell me any important information I may need to know,” Hailey said. 

He is concerned about missing important information given out in the forty minutes of homeroom. 

    “I feel like I miss out on information about events in school,” Hailey said. “This being my junior year, any info on colleges, ACT prep, and testing, I don’t get. I also don’t know how I’m supposed to get things like my student pictures or paper report cards, etc.” 

    While many students and teachers are on edge about homeroom, Mr. Freeman is confident in the importance and substance homeroom brings to the table. When asked about why homeroom was introduced, Mr. Freeman was very happy to explain how it came to be.

    “One of the things that we saw last year was the need for students to make a connection with at least one adult in the building and in order to do so, we saw we needed to make more time with the adult in terms of the homeroom, as opposed to having homeroom once every quarter, or every two weeks, as we’ve done in the past,” Freeman said. 

    Freeman also explains that a forty minute homeroom was not out of the blue, and that our district plays a big role in it. 

    “The district wanted us to connect with students in their social, emotional states,” Freeman said. “One of the ways they wanted us to do so was through a curriculum that targets social and emotional health for students.”. 

    Freeman explains that students excluded from homeroom need to be completing the SEL curriculum as it’s now a district policy.

    “I don’t know how they are getting that at the Career Center, but in conversation with Mrs. Martinez we talked about what we can do for our students who are at the Career Center.”

    While homeroom is not going anywhere anytime soon, Mr. Freeman explains that it is not completely solid, and that changes can and will be made if needed. 

    “We’ll see what works. We are never opposed to change. We’ll adapt any data that we get, we’ll look at any needs that need to be met. We’ll review what went well and iron out what didn’t.”