High school isn’t just about grades, tests and college applications. An often neglected part of the high school experience is the social development that students experience as they transition from the protected school environment into the world ahead.
The friendships and connections that are made in high school have the potential to last a lifetime. During the trials and tribulations of adolescence, teens can find friends through similar hobbies and interests, via shared social experiences. For example, a group of friends that is interested in debate, and debates during their lunchtime club. Even relationships with mentors can be formed that assist in the creation of opportunities for school and jobs further down the line.
However, Burlingame allows for little time within school hours to organically create such social connections. Every day, students have a 10-minute brunch and 30-minute lunch; there are 40 minutes per day not spent in class compared to almost six hours in class. That said, the brunch and lunch periods begin as soon as the bell rings for the end of the previous period, reducing those 40 minutes to 35 minutes maximum. The result is that about 9.7 percent of time at school is spent outside of the classroom, resulting in very little time to socialize or take a break from intense learning.
Aside from the individual student health value, longer classroom breaks would curb a recognized campus issue: lack of school spirit. Lack of school spirit correlates to a student body that isn’t well connected. Most student’s friend groups are limited to those they share a class or extracurricular with. Through these areas, many close friends can be made via undergoing challenges together.
This social setup contrasts the business world, where connections are formed when one takes initiative and introduce oneself to someone they’d like to meet. A skill even more crucial than what can be taught in class is the ability to communicate with others, and the only way to develop such a skill is via social situations where an individual makes the first move. Longer classroom breaks would give students more time to branch out, meet new people, and develop skill sets more important than what they just learned behind their desk.
One can only feel spirit towards a community they feel they are a part of, one with which they are familiar. Thus, school spirit can only exist if a sense of community is encouraged in the day-to-day BHS schedule. With more classroom breaks, and more time for student socialization, Burlingame will set their students up for lifetime success, and allow the creation of a spirited and connected student body.