Community responds to new access periods


Access periods allow for students to complete their homework, meet with teachers and move around the school.

Taylor S Neal, Copy Editor

The 2022- 2023 school year came with plenty of schedule changes, such as the hybrid block schedule and 8- period days. One new change being implemented this year is the access periods on the Wednesday and Thursday block days after students’ first class of the day.

Access was put into place to allow students to have more time to study and focus on homework or activities they may not have time for inside or outside the classroom. Access allows students to visit with teachers with a pass, as well as letting students have their own choice of where to go on certain days. Sometimes, access teachers have lessons or drills to give to the students.

Principal Arwen Lyp speaks on the purpose of the new access periods for students this year.

“The intended purpose of access [is] a traditional homeroom model that more and more high schools are trying to implement to give students a safe space of the day, to teachers that you connect with for four years, classmates you get to know well, to just having a breather in the day,” Lyp said.

Senior Kaley Bretwisch shares how access periods can be beneficial to her because of the time allowed to study and have access to spaces across the school.

“We can use [access] as a study hall and have free time and when we have access to the commons we can hangout with our friends and socialize,” Bretwisch said.

Access periods have certain days that allow students in different grades to have access to different areas in the school or to have teacher pass days which allow students to meet with their teachers.

Sophomore Reagan Zielke explains how having an access period twice a week can be beneficial to procrastinators, and how having teachers accessible during this time saves students a trip to office hours either before or after school, or during a lunch period.

“As a student who struggles with procrastination, [access] is so beneficial to my productivity. Having a 30 minute study hall twice a week is an extra hour to do homework and see teachers without having to go during office hours,” Zielke said.

However, this new change in the schedule sparks some controversy over not only students, but teachers as well. Some may say that access is not working out how it was originally planned, or not benefiting the students at all.

One of the biggest concerns by many students is the fact that while at the beginning of the year, students were promised lots of free time to study and meet with teachers or just have free time in general, students feel that they have not had as much free time as they were expecting.

Autonomy days are the times that a student can access pretty much any place in the school like the commons or the library. Junior Samuel Sanchez feels as though we do not have enough student autonomy days.

“Student autonomy days are minimal, and not everyone can get a pass on one of those days to meet with a teacher when people need one,” Sanchez said.

Teachers also have thoughts on how this year’s addition to access. English teacher Dr. Kierstin Thompson has seniors for her access class. She shares how she feels access has impacted her students.

“But right now, [access] has really really limited the autonomy. The autonomy days are so limited, I think my seniors have only had one or two total. That is what my students keep asking for, like, ‘when do we get another autonomy day?’” Thompson said.

Teachers also have things that they feel frustrated with about regarding teachers planning with access periods.

“What I have been frustrated with access is that we were led to believe that there would be multiple opportunities to have students come with a pass to get help… and so far, it’s November ninth, I’ve only been able to do that one time… because I teach sophomores and seniors, the students pass days for sophomores don’t always align with the student pass days for seniors. It’s been frustrating because I could have used that to meet with students for revision work,” Thompson said.

One new thing that the schedule accounts for now is that Mustang Way lessons/ videos are now held during our access periods. Some of these lessons include information on how to get involved at DGS, how to have academic honesty, and why you should stay AOTD free.

Many of these videos and lessons have been taught from the moment a student has walked into DGS. Seniors feel like a lot of this information is very repeated as they have heard this from freshman year.

“ I don’t like [that] as a senior, we have to watch these videos that are things we already are very familiar with. It seems very repetitive to be watching all these videos and not have the study time we were promised,” Bretwisch said.

Access periods also allow for students to hang out with classmates and friends.