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New Changes at Saturday School Enable Tardy Students

Debi Rahmanan

Debi Rahmanan

Colin Grubensky, Staff Writer

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   Saturday School. A term that every high schooler has come to know and dread. Saturday School has consistently been known as a dull, unfair punishment that ruins weekends. It often resulted in long hours of sitting inactively in a classroom instead of having fun on the two precious days of break between each school week. However, Saturday School has been changing for the better in recent months. Some students have taken part in field trips and other activities as a part of this former punishment, and many report that they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
  “Saturday School has always been an optional opportunity for students to make up attendance hours they missed during the school year.  Last year, we decided to change the name to Success School, because by making the choice to wake up early on a Saturday and come to school, students are making a positive choice to be successful at school,” said UC Dean of Accountability and Attendance Gail Hall.

  “Saturday School is great. There was an introductory painting class last weekend and you can color, do homework… it’s a lot of fun. More recently, we went on a field trip to do a beach cleanup,” said Junior Tyee Montoya.
 While this is change in activities is appreciated by those who take part in Saturday School, it raises questions about funding and how the school is spending its money. Many students wonder why the school can fund these field trips for a program that is, at its core, a remedial one, while many, for example, sports teams are significantly underfunded. However, it’s important to remember that each of these different programs are funded through entirely different budgets, and schools can’t simply transfer money from one budget to another.

  Furthermore, Saturday School is a chance for school to gain revenue. Schools are paid for by district funds, which are determined by student attendance, and absences mean the school does not receive these funds. By going to Saturday School, students expunge their absences while also helping the school recoup money in a now fun and cost-efficient way. “I began to research field trip options that were free and we just had to pay for transportation.  So far this year we have done a beach clean-up, along with visiting the Contemporary Art Museum, Cabrillo National Monument, and the Living Coast in Chula Vista,” Hall explained.

  It’s great that Saturday school is becoming more enjoyable for students, but it has an unfortunate side effect. If Saturday School was meant to be a deterrent, to cause students to not be tardy or  absent, then a major factor in its effectiveness would be how unpleasant it can be.  Aren’t students supposed to despise spending a Saturday sitting in a classroom instead of having fun. With Saturday School becoming a source of activity and entertainment for students, it may make truancy and unexcused absences more justifiable.  There’s no longer any punishment aspect to it, and it may make it more likely that students will pick absence and a day at Saturday School over going to class.

  The new enjoyable Saturday School may finally get people to wake up and come to school on a Saturday,  but it may also give some students an excuse to ditch school. For Saturday School to continue being effective, we must strike a balance between fun and punishment. With no fun, fewer students may go make up their absences. But with too much fun, who wouldn’t just choose to ditch school only to make up the hours on a fun Saturday morning? Wouldn’t you?

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New Changes at Saturday School Enable Tardy Students