The Impact of Reduced Days

How do early release and late arrival programs affect students?

By Austin Hunn, Current Staff

There are hundreds of students permitted to have shorter school days on a day-to-day basis, but not much is known about its effects on students. 

Early release and late arrival are well-known opportunities at the West Bend High Schools that are greatly appreciated by many students. Many students take advantage of reduced days for employment reasons, more time to practice sports, mental breaks or simply more free time. 

Kaitlyn Ribar, West counselor for students with last names H to P, is interested in the effects reduced days might have, especially since not much research on it has been done in terms of the impact on WBHS students.

“I haven’t noticed a common trend among the students that I’ve spoken to or are requesting early release or late arrival,” Ribar said. “I don’t have data to say one way or the other on how it affects students.”

Currently, there are 477 students with reduced days, which comprises over 20% of WBHS students.

“For first hour we have 187 students that have late arrival, and then for seventh hour we have 290 students who have early release,” Ribar said.

One major concern with students regarding reduced days is the impact early release has on students’ ability to spend time in sports and clubs. This is primarily due to the need to return to school and for the various other activities they would take part in, but for students like West senior Klae Gallagher, an early release has proved to be beneficial to sports performance. 

“It gives me much more time to practice tennis, and it makes me just a better athlete overall,” Gallagher said. 

After-school clubs on the other hand, appear to be less popular for early release students. Gallagher struggles to make time for clubs due to other commitments he makes after school.

“Usually it gets just a little bit harder to attend clubs because I’m either starting tennis or starting work, and I just can’t leave in the middle of either of those,” he said.

East junior Autumn Ploch believes that early release does not affect most students’ ability to participate in clubs if they have no other after-school commitments.

“I don’t think it’s more difficult because most of us that have early release have our (driver’s) license, and you can basically just stay after school in the library if you really wanted to,” Ploch said.

Many students use early release for employment reasons, putting themselves at an advantage by being able to arrive at work before other students.

“It shows that I have a work ethic and that I’m willing to get to work earlier than other kids,” Gallagher said. “I think it gives me a lot more of a chance for a pay increase, and being able to get in those extra hours just gets me a little more money.”

Ploch also uses early release to get to work earlier than other students. 

“I use reduced days for employment reasons because I go to work right after school while most students are still in school,” she said. “Therefore I can get home sooner and get more stuff done at the end of the day.”

One major concern with reduced days involves mental health. According to many students, simply spending less time in school has improved their mental health.

“My mental health is better because I have one less hour in school,” East junior Kaylee Schiller said. “I also would say it’s just better for time management.”

Olivia Schwechel, an East junior, thinks of her extra free hour of the day as a break between the balance of school, sports, work and sleep.

“I think it helps your mental health because it allows you to get yourself together before you go to another sport, so you have that hour of the day where it’s just like you can do whatever you want before you have to go back to school,” Schwechel said.

Reduced days have been shown to leave several positive effects on students, but it is still an opportunity that few can be granted. Nonetheless, it is proudly offered to students who meet the requirements.

“Personally I think it’s an option that’s a privilege for students, and I’m glad that it’s something that we offer for students who meet the criteria,” Ribar said.

(Top image: West senior Klae Gallagher poses Friday with his reduced day pass. Photo by Austin Hunn, Current Staff.)

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