Why 3:20?

Students in the Elkhorn district often want to know why we have to be in school for a full day.


Time schedules at Elkhorn North.

From middle school to high school, teenagers have little say into what course are on their schedules. The ones who have the most influence behind scheduling are the counselors.

The three counselors at Elkhorn North High School begin scheduling for the upcoming year. In November, counselor Martha Dowd, is in charge of writing in the required and suggested classes for students. 

Dowd then hands it over to Sarah Zimmerman who puts everything into place. Putting everything into order is a year-long process that lasts all the way to the next year.

What students often do not understand is that what the counselors write down does not mean they have to keep that class. Even if a student is in a lower level class they can move up to a higher one. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out though, as classes can overlap and students will have to choose between one or another. 

An example of a seniors schedule who has met all credits, but is still taking classes till 3:20.

Students noticed that other districts offer more classes than Elkhorn does. 

“The amount of classes we offer is up to the amount of students and teachers we have,” Dowd said. 

All of the seven classes students choose fit into a schedule. A day starts at 8:10 and goes until 3:20, and many seniors wish that this was different. 

“Elkhorn meets and exceeds those instructional hours,” said Elkhorn North Principal Dan Radicia. 

Even if seniors  have enough credits and are meeting expectations, they still have to be here for a full school day. There are other options that they can choose, such as work release, internships or teacher cadet. Each of these options offer seniors a chance to leave school for two periods of the day.

Radicia believes that it is important that students take advantage of the free education they are receiving. Upperclassmen having the opportunity for an open campus could end up having more negative effects than positive. Since Elkhorn has a smaller district compared to other districts around, open campus isn’t as beneficial since there is not a huge overflow of students. 

Like Radicia, Dowd thinks that even if students are meeting credits, it is only beneficial to be in school the whole day. As a parent, Dowd worries what her son would be doing if he was not in school for the full day.

“It just opens up the door for bad decisions, and danger zones,” Dowd said.

Senior Bradan Leahy goes back and forth  between whether it is necessary to be in school all day or not. While he believes that it is for our own good, he also wishes that he had more freedom. Like other kids in the Elkhorn district,  he wishes his schedule was similar to his friends in other schools.

“We are here all day for our own good and we are learning more,” Leahy said. 

Though many students may not love being in school till 3:20 all four years, it is truly for the better.