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Homework With a Side of Weekend

According to Mrs. Kimberley Lansell, a social studies teacher, “Before the official school year, the administration gives [teachers] calendars digitally that detail the designated times for Baron Time and Homework-Free Weekends.
Students will have opportunities for self-care next week. Finding this time other times during the year can be challenging.

“So as an administrative team, there are a lot of supports that we have in place for student mental health,” shared Assistant Principal Ms. Christine Rizkallah. She said, “Baron Time and Homework-Free Weekends were two proposals that we shared this summer. [Baron time] definitely came from Dr. Mooney; he wanted…to look out for students and give them the opportunity to have a period where they can focus on doing makeup work.” Homework-free weekends were formed around holidays that may not have designated days off in order to be inclusive of all students’ needs, as well as around educational deadlines like interims. 

Do all teachers know about scheduled student support time? 

According to Mrs. Kimberley Lansell, a social studies teacher, “Before the official school year, the administration gives [teachers] calendars digitally that detail the designated times for Baron Time and Homework-Free Weekends. Later on, Resource Teachers, such as Dr. Hunter Hogewood, who is really good at sending out email reminders, will make sure to prompt teachers to make sure [they’re] giving kids Baron Time and are aware that it is a Homework-Free Weekend.” 

What do staff, teachers, and students think about Baron Time? 

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Mr. Dave Gysberts, B-CC’s Pupil Personnel Worker, a role focused on student and family support and engagement said, ” I believe that allocated time for students, including non-instructional days, is important to create that space for building community as a school. This time may have nothing to do with instruction, but is just as important as it allows students to just relate to teachers on a different level other than instructional content.”

Lansell, shared, “ I allow my students, by class, [to] tell [her] which day they want [Baron Time] to be. I warn kids that Mondays and Fridays tend not to be productive. On Mondays, students tend to forget that it’s on Monday, so they’re not prepared for it. And Fridays, everyone’s tired by Fridays, and there’s nothing really pressing.” During other days, she continued, “She has seen students be most productive, and they really work on assignments and study for tests instead of non-productive behavior such as playing games or being on their phones.”

Freshman Evelyn Staub admitted, “I just go on my phone and hang out with my friends.” 

Mrs. Toby Pond, a math teacher, commented “Many of my students use Baron Time to help get caught up on things that they’re missing. I also have a lot of students that aren’t missing anything, so I try to have something extra for them to practice on or suggest seniors work on their college applications.” 

Meanwhile, Senior Ben Rosa shared, “I never really had a true Baron time… there’s always like ‘Here’s Baron time, but I want you to work on this.’ When it comes to Wellness Wednesday, I thought that was supposed to be Baron Time, but it’s a slideshow that really doesn’t do anything for us.” As an IB student, Rosa said, “I have to write all of these IAs, and there is so much analysis going on, and there is not enough class time for that.”

What do staff, teachers, and students think about Homework-Free Weekends? 

Julie Westman, the school’s social worker, shared, “I hope that during homework-free weekends people are taking advantage and not doing schoolwork, because that’s the whole point behind it. Students sometimes have to catch up, but hopefully, they can find other times during the school day or during the week and not use them. I think it is very important to have time to unwind, unload, do something for fun, and not think about school for a few days.” 

Freshman Ada Nussbaum stated, “Most weekends should be homework-free but I appreciate the Homework-Free Weekends to observe religious holidays.” 

Rosa said, “It’s homework-free, but then [teachers] assign whatever assignment we have to do is due Tuesday instead of Monday. Teachers set it up so that you have to work on it over the weekend.” 

With classes like AP/IB History, Lansell said, “Homework-free weekends are less applicable due to teachers giving major homework assignments a week in advance that give students time to create management plans rather than assigning homework on Friday to be completed by Monday. 

How can students be aware of the support that is available to them? 

Rizkallah said, “B-CC has a ton of support for students that some people don’t know about, and with Mental Health Awareness Week at MCPS coming up from Oct. 30 through Nov. 3, there will be a Mental Health Resource Fair during lunch. This way, students can learn about the different resources that we have here at B-CC. And then we’ll have the same thing for parents in the morning.” Beyond that, B-CC has additional resources, including B-CC partners like the Bridge to Wellness Program.

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About the Contributor
Amelia Zalubas, Staff Reporter
Amelia Zalubas, a junior, contributes to the culture and feature section of the Tattler. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts, showing people unsolicited pictures of her cats, being president of the book club, and all things Taylor Swift.

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