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PLT period moved back to the end of the day

Jenna Engel, Asst. Features Editor

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“Personal Learning Time,” known as PLT has been moved back to the end of the day. One of the first glaring changes of the school year was changing the previous Academic Assistance Period, AAP, from the end of the day, to after third block or C lunch. After approximately eight weeks with the new schedule, school officials have opted to moving PLT back to its original time slot.

The goal, with the initial and present change, is for students to better utilize the 25 minute period, as previously expressed by Principal William Deal.

“The biggest issue that came up with PLT, where it is now, is that we had student-athletes that were missing a lot more class than they did in the past. They felt that being able to talk to their teachers preemptively before missing for a game wasn’t the kind of opportunity that was working for them,” Deal said.

Due to the aforementioned issue for athletes, Deal and PAC members had to consider their only other option – the end of the day.

“There is no other place in the day where we can effectively do this,” Deal said. “So if we move it back to the end of the day, how can we make sure that this is something that is meaningful?”

Using the time meaningfully is one of Deal’s biggest concerns. At the end of the day, students tend to be less motivated to use the allotted 25 minutes to complete assignments and be constructive; their main focus tends to be geared towards their departure home. Deal expresses this phenomena as “not in the mode to continue to do work.”

PLT has proven to be used more meaningfully than AAP was, according to Deal. He has received feedback from students and staff attesting to this. Students have proven to be more on task, less frequently roaming the hallways.

“If this is what we need to do, there’s no reason to belabor the point; there’s no reason to take it out any further. It’s clear that the feelings of the students were that [the schedule] needed to be switched sooner than later,” Deal said.

Another problem that presents itself with the transition from AAP to PLT is the standards by which teachers feel the time should be utilized vary. To help eliminate any misconceptions as to what PLT is to be utilized as, the name “Personal Learning Time,” is set to stay.

“The name change to PLT is important because it more accurately reflects what we ultimately hope students do with that time. At that time, they’re pursuing interests that are personalized to their needs,” Deal said.

He emphasized that, in the case of AAP, one could “get five different definitions from five different people as to what AAP was.”

“Now [with] this change back to the end of the day, I’m hoping that it’s just a time change, not an expectation change, not a philosophy change,” Deal said.

The change was officially made on Oct. 16. If the time set aside for PLT is not utilized properly, the next step would likely be to lengthen classes, completely eliminating the 25 minute period.

“If [PLT] doesn’t work at this time period for one way or another, it’s probably not going to exist,” Deal said.

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Freedom Area High School's Student Newspaper
Same name, different time