Bon Voyage Colloquium
by Alicja Ramotowski
If you love something, you have to let it go. Well it seems like it is Northside’s turn to accept this painful truth. With test scores rising around the globe and educational advances in Japan and Finland, it is becoming crystal clear that the privilege of colloquium is one we can no longer afford. Northside has been cutting corners and rewriting the rules long enough. Therefore, as of April 22, 2018, Northside will no longer offer colloquium on Hump Day, and every Wednesday will instead be an 8 block day.
Administration recognizes the stress and difficulty of change, especially one as dramatic as the termination of colloquium, but after countless hours spent brainstorming and debating, they have come to a group consensus that it is a wasteful, useless day that simply must go. It has become the equivalent of spending days binge watching a show. It feels good when you are doing it, but there is always a sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction when spring break or summer or winter break ends, and you realize all you have done is watch TV. Our wise school leaders are simply trying to save us from the horrible fate, and although it is hard for many to understand, with time, they will come to realize that ending Wednesday laziness is what needs to be done.
We will all miss our day off, but Northside already has the privilege of block schedule and a level of student freedom other schools do not have. With Northside’s current schedule, students spend about 30 hours less in every class per year than peers at other CPS high schools. Colloquium, although thoroughly enjoyed by students as a break from the tensions of homework and extracurricular activities, has been referred to by many of the administrative staff as, “a waste of precious learning time and funds.” The staff has also expressed dismay about the costs of colloquium, claiming that, “the school has to be open every Wednesday, and hundreds of thousands of dollars are poured into doing so, but no academic or learning benefit is achieved.”
Apart from being a waste of time and money, four days of school per week is simply not enough. After all, students only spend seven hours and four minutes in school every day (not counting interscholastic sports, time spent on homework, extracurricular clubs, and dances of course), so with 178 school days a year, that makes just 1257 hours and 52 minutes of learning time per school year. That is clearly not enough time to learn enough to get a five on all of the AP exams a student is taking, ace the SATs, ace the ACTs, show significant improvement on Reach tests, and squeeze around three full years of college into one high school career.
Anyways, students at other schools in the area do not have the weekly luxury of colloquium and still manage to deal with their daily stress. Considering the buzz that spreads throughout the school during every four day week, Northside will by setting up time management and no time stress relieving classes, as well as online courses for all students to complete. These will help the community deal with the loss and adjust to the new way of life. Some of these courses will be held after school in the auditorium and some will be a set of online modules and videos, both of which will be mandatory. The lessons will be considered completed only if the student receives a minimum score of 1428 on the CLCE - Colloquium Loss Coping Exam. If he or she fails to earn a sufficient amount of points, the next phase will be mandatory one-on-one stress coaching classes by Northside’s counselors, which will also take place after classes.
So, although there will be no more knitting, yoga, growing vegetables in the hoop house, x block and y blocks, and all school colloquiums, it will all be okay. By the time next year’s freshmen walk through the doors, colloquium will be a distant memory. Northsiders will learn to function without their mini weekend, and with time, will see it was all for the best.