Students at Palmer Ridge High School will have a new advisory period built into their day in the coming school year thanks to a group of staff, administration and students who worked on developing “Bear Time.”
In the 2022-2023 school year, all students will get a 25-minute period immediately following the school’s first period to de-stress, socialize, address social or emotional concerns, including mental health concerns and learn about college preparation. The goal is to allow students a flexible period in which they don’t have to be laser-focused on academic excellence.
“Since the moment I was hired, I’ve listened and heard about the need that has been expressed by a great many of students, staff and families,” said Adam Frank, PRHS principal. “That need relates to building the capacity to better meet our students’ social-emotional needs.”
Frank said Palmer Ridge has and will continue to be a school known for academic excellence, but students need support beyond just academics. The new period will be utilized to allow students to address anxiety about classwork, mental health concerns, learn about the dangers of vaping, meet with counselors and much more.
“We are very excited about the implementation of Bear Time. I am encouraged by the unity among PRHS staff in spearheading this, and I know the intent behind this initiative is to benefit the well-rounded growth and development of our students.”
In order to carve out time for the new 25-minute period, the time between periods was reduced from seven to five minutes and reducing each class period by five minutes. The new period will not extend the school day, or change the start or end time of school.
Students, too, see the benefit of the new program. Thomas Fry, who has been outspoken about the need for additional support systems for student mental health, was featured on KOAA following the announcement of the new program.
“We come here to do work then we go home to do work,” said Fry. “I think it’s okay to use it as a relaxing period, but I also think it’s a good opportunity to go to tutoring, go see counselors and access those resources that might not be available during other times of the day.”