The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


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More catch-up days are the answer

Luke Jester
Freshmen R.J. Saba and Stephen Lin study together during the school day. Implementing more catch-up days would promote healthy work habits and keep students on track with assignments.

A stressed out perfectionist opens Schoology on Monday morning to see assignments piling up in all of their classes. Mental chaos ensues. 

Sound familiar?

As finals season approaches, Jefferson students find themselves mired in homework. Finding time to get work done can seem an impossible task, especially for those who pursue extracurriculars and sports outside of school, never mind balancing sleep schedules. Quarterly “catch-up” days were implemented not just to allow students to fix grades, but also to break up Mondays and make them more enjoyable after student feedback.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately seven in ten high schoolers do not sleep enough on weeknights. Jefferson students follow a more academically rigorous schedule and that number is surely higher here. Furthermore, according to the University of California, Los Angeles Health, the sleep rhythm of teenagers tells us to go to bed anytime between 10 and 11 p.m. However, many Jefferson students tend to stretch that to later, not to mention waking up at early times, such as five in the morning, resulting sometimes in just four or five hours of sleep.

Apart from 8th period—the period allotted to students to complete both extracurricular activities as well as study halls and test makeups—students have few opportunities to get work done during school due to the high volume of material they have to comprehend and complete every day. 

Falling behind is incredibly stressful and demoralizing in the competitive environment of Jefferson. The last week of a quarter can feel like a slog because, unlike other schools, the teachers aren’t going to take their foot off the gas. That’s what catch-up days are for taking a regular old anchor day, where you have all of your classes for just 40 minutes, and turning it into a time where students can get help from their teachers and complete work. They should happen more often—maybe once a month.

Anchor days allow minimal productivity in quick periods that don’t allow teachers or students to “settle in.” I often feel unmotivated and tired. Why should every Monday be a regular old anchor day when you can have a catch-up day and be able to do work for any class in every class? While some students prefer to “grind” and complete assignments over the weekend, some students don’t have the time because of other commitments. Monthly catch-up days would fix this problem, allowing students to start their week fresh, not bogged down with tons of work.

The mental health benefits need to be considered too. Moving bedtimes forward just a little can make a huge difference because every minute counts. Catch-up days can promote healthier lifestyles with more balanced sleep schedules when students aren’t scrambling to meet a deadline for the next day at one in the morning. Implementing more catch-up days would allow better time management, too. Teachers could collaborate with students who need extra help while others collaborate amongst themselves, all getting valuable work time.

On the other hand, teachers may not have the time to teach all of the required material due to losing a day of instruction once a month. Ongoing projects and assignments that are imminently due would have to be pushed back at least a day, frustrating instructors. Students might also struggle to stay on task if teachers are not constantly informing them of what to do.

However, Jefferson students are some of the most devoted and hard-working anywhere. With proper supervision, teachers could ensure students are on track for their learning. The extra time would be crucial to staying successful throughout a long year. 

In a world that moves faster than we can keep up, not having time to sit down and get work done at a reasonable time isn’t fair to students or teachers. The usefulness of quarterly catch-up days is already apparent, but more are needed for Jefferson’s scholars to keep pace. Catch-up days were only put in place this year, but I can tell already that more are necessary, especially at such a rigorous school like Jefferson.

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