Inclusion of Redemption Days at School Could Help Solve Student Sleep Issues

Valor Dictus Staff

The FCPS Office of Food and Nutrition Services recently promoted the 9-5-2-1-0 program, which advocates nine hours of sleep, five servings of fruits and vegetables, two hours of screen time, one hour of physical activity and no sugary drinks for elementary school students each day.

Although the county recognizes the importance of sleep, it has seemingly done little to address the issue as it pertains to high school students. Our teachers should take the initiative and add a clever new change to their schedules, which currently restrict the time students have to catch some z’s.

This new inclusion involves the implementation of what are tentatively titled ‘Redemption Days.’ On a Redemption Day, students would be given a set period of time once a month to complete any late homework during each core class. At the end of their class, the teacher would collect the homework and give it full credit, ‘redeeming’ the student from receiving a late penalty. In combination with RAISE, Redemption Days would also ‘redeem’ students from the zombie-like state they are put into after staying up late working on assignments. However, Redemption Days are more class-specific than RAISE, during which any work can be completed; only class-related work would be allowed on a Redemption Day.

Although Redemption Days would prove infinitely beneficial to the student body, it would not give the apathetic population a loophole to repeatedly miss assignments. Students would be able to make up a reasonable amount of work during a Redemption Day, but would still have incentive to complete homework on time. They would not be able to cram day after day of homework into one Redemption Day. This change far from encourages laziness.

According to Thomas Guskey’s article “How Classroom Assessments Improve Learning” for the ASCD journal, corrective opportunities during which students can improve their comprehension of material are not common nationwide, but have been proven beneficial. In addition to spreading students’ workloads out more evenly, Redemption Days provide the opportunity for students to ask teachers the questions they often have while completing homework.

Of course, students need to express the desire to make this change to their core class teachers if it is to happen. Our school allows teachers to construct their own homework policies, so if teachers see strong support for Redemption Days, they might give the idea a test-run during one month of school. If it proves to be a successful addition, the teachers could make Redemption Days into a widespread staple of school life. In turn, this could salvage an extra hour or two of sleep for the high school students FCPS has yet to address on this issue.

If the school takes the time to implement Redemption Days, students’ days and nights may become sweet dreams once again.