Students and staff share how Timber Time will be implemented

The bell rings, signaling the end of fourth hour. Students file out of the classroom, but instead of heading to their lockers, respective classes, or assigned lunch, they have the next hour to fill with anything from lunch, to clubs, to homework to help.

On Jan. 30, Timber Time will be implemented. This student intervention time was executed at Blue Valley High and Blue Valley Northwest during first semester.

The schedule yet finalized, but tentatively normal days will have classes that are 48 minutes long instead of 50 minutes with five minute passing periods instead of six minute passing periods. Timber Time will be from 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., in between fourth and fifth hour. On Wednesdays, it will be after third hour and after second hour on Thursdays. During the hour-long period, students are able to eat lunch, get help from teachers, meet with clubs and socialize.

Principal Scott Roberts said he has four main goals for the implementation of Timber Time at our school.

“The first thing is to provide academic support for students,” Roberts said. “The second is to be able to allow students to have a break in their day, every day, where they get to have some autonomy, where they can choose what they do and take a breath. Third thing, it gives our clubs and activities a time to meet during the school day, especially for students who don’t have the opportunity — whether it’s because of transportation or other activities — to join a club or be a part of a club. This will allow that to happen for them. Then, fourth, I’d like for it to become a time when we can extend academically and [in] activities that we can do more on an individual basis.”

To help Jan. 30 go smoothly, Roberts said he asked three groups to figure out the logistics. He said the first group includes the student council and the newspaper, yearbook and Wolf Byte leaders. The second group includes the AVID classes from all four grades. The third group consists of staff members. He said there is coordination between all three of these groups for the implementation of Timber Time.

Senior Kate Bowling, student council executive board vice president, said she thought it was a good idea that Roberts approached student council about helping with Timber Time.

“Student council is in charge of leading the students, and we are a voice for the students,” Bowling said. “We’re the leaders of the school. That’s our job, and we want to help out. So, it’s nice that he approached us about it rather than just having the administration, because we are students, and we see it from a student’s perspective rather than the other side.”

Bowling also said she welcomes Timber Time because it gives students a time in the middle of the day to accomplish many different things.

“I really like the idea of [Timber Time] because I feel that students need a little break during the day,” Bowling said. “But, also, it’s more than just a brain break for them. Since high school students are all so busy all of the time, it just kind of allows for a little freedom. It helps out kind of organizing schedule-wise because there will be activities that meet during that time or if you need help and it’s during the school day, instead of fitting it in before or after school, which is hard for a lot of students. I know for me, personally, it’s hard.”

Regarding the schedule, science teacher Brittany Harding said the teacher committee is helping to figure out more of the logistical side of Timber Time. She said the teachers have broken into separate committees to figure out things such as lunch, communication and scheduling. She is working on the scheduling committee, which will make a master calendar to try and accommodate clubs and times teachers are available to meet.

Harding said the teachers’ main goal for Timber Time is to be able to help as many students as possible. She said she is excited for this opportunity because it gives teachers a time every day to help each individual student in the area they need help. She said she hopes Timber Time is beneficial in a variety of ways.

“I hear my freshman and my chem kids talk about how much they have going on, and I believe that,” Harding said. “I know you guys are so busy and everybody is so involved in so much stuff. This would hopefully maybe lessen that load a little bit. You can get more things done during the day opposed to at 11 or 12 at night. And if you do have everything done, it’s a time to be social and get that emotional break that I think would be nice in the middle of the day.”

Overall, Harding said she thinks the main goal of Timber Time is academic help for students.

“I think academic help and emotional well-being kind of go hand-in-hand,” Harding said. “So, learning how to use that time wisely — because it’s a skill that you are going to need outside of school too — and not abusing it by trashing the building and stuff like that, that’s going to be something we all have to learn how to do.”

Besides having disregard for the building, there are some other concerns regarding Timber Time. Sophomore Mitch Sailer is a member of AVID. He said AVID is trying to stay organized to make sure the school can use Timber Time to the best of its abilities. He also said he hopes the school will be able to manage it properly, despite some concerns.

“The maturity aspect is definitely kind of scary with it because you have to wonder, ‘Will students pick up what they have?’ because obviously eating anywhere in the school is kind of worrying for the students and the teachers,” Sailer said. “So, I think we obviously need to be mature about it and make sure we manage it correctly.”

Bowling said another concern is implementing Timber Time after the semester has started. She also said she could see some concerns implementing a new schedule that no one is used to, but doesn’t think it should raise too many problems among the student body.

Roberts said this is a concern, but agrees that there shouldn’t be too many problems. He said the first few weeks will serve as an adjustment period for the staff and students.

“If we chose that everyone eats — 1,147 of us — all try to eat at the same time, at the very beginning, there is going to take some time to get through that,” Roberts said. “We have to learn what the boundaries are. People are going to have to reorient where they eat lunch, where they go sit. We have to make sure that people are using their time effectively. That doesn’t mean you have to go see a teacher necessarily. That means, if you’re going to be, you should be working on some sort of academics during that time, outside of when you eat lunch, and making sure students are really using that time. So, it’s going to take an adjustment period for us. I think any implementation of a new program always [has] some bumps in the road, but I really believe in our students and I think they’re going to do a great job with it.”

Sailer said he thinks Timber Time is a good idea, but that it is important that the students manage it correctly. He said he thinks the younger students at the school need to take the opportunity seriously and utilize all the help.

“I think it’s a great idea as long as we can really be mature about it and keep the whole school clean and everything and be smart about it and not treat it like it’s a joke,” Sailer said. “I like the opportunity because some of the freshmen and sophomores can’t drive to school, so it’s a good time to get help from the teachers. I hope students take the full use of that.”

Even though all the rules for Timber Time are not yet laid out, Roberts said he is most excited to see the students here really embrace it.

“It’s been fun when I’ve gone to Blue Valley High School and Blue Valley Northwest to ask the students about it,” Roberts said. “When I ask students about Husky Halftime or Tiger Paws in both places I’ve had students say ‘I couldn’t go to a school that didn’t have this now. It’s completely changed the way I am able to become a student, the way I’m able to get help. It’s helped me with my grades. It’s helped me with my time. It’s helped me with my stress.’ I am excited to see our students have that same experience.”

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