Early Bird classes should always have non-Early-Bird options

Early Bird classes should always have non-Early-Bird options

Will Atzeff, Staff writer

Similar to many other high schools around the country, LFHS offers “early bird” classes which start earlier than the regular schedule. While it is true that most classes offered as early birds have alternative options that allow you to take the class during regularly scheduled periods, this is not always the case–but it should be. 

In some situations, if not enough students sign up for a specific class, whichever selected time slot was the majority (either early bird or during the regular schedule) out of the students who signed up is the timeslot the class will be held in. After taking early bird chemistry sophomore year, I told myself that I would never take an early bird class again in my life.

However, since a majority of the students who signed up for Physics C opted for early bird, and the school didn’t think there were enough students for it to be worthy of two separate classes, I was forced to decide whether to take a different science class or suffer through early bird for my senior year. I was really enthusiastic about taking the class ever since I was a freshman, so I have found myself in an early bird class for a second time just because the school wouldn’t offer two separate classes. 

There are several other students in my class who have fallen into the same situation as me, and there are even other students who decided not to take the class because it was announced that it was only being offered as an early bird. 

For Lake Forest, early bird classes start at 7:45am while all the other classes start at 8:15am. A majority of the classes that are offered as early birds are the AP science classes (Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Physics 1, Physics C) because they are required to have 75 minute long classes five days a week. Although early bird allows these classes to only take up the first regular class period rather than two later in the day, they have many negative implications for students.

The main drawback of early bird classes is that they eat away at students’ sleep. Students who take early bird classes must get up nearly 45 minutes earlier than they would on a normal school day. 

Early bird tardies make up about 17% of all late-to-school tardies. This is relevant considering early bird students only make up 10% of all students, which means students in early bird classes are more likely to be late than the average student.”

Early bird students also don’t receive all the benefits of LFHS’s block schedule. Typically, on Wednesdays students only have even numbered classes and Thursdays students only have odd numbered classes. This means for those two days a week school starts at 9am instead of 8:15am, giving students two days of the week where they can sleep in. For early bird students however, since they are required to have 75 minute classes 5 days a week, only receive the 9am start on Thursdays, and have a 7:45am class on Wednesdays while everyone else sleeps in late. I have noticed students who take naps during their afternoon classes are almost always the ones in early bird classes.

Along with reduced sleep, I find it that taking an AP science test later in the day is much less stressful than going from bed to the exam in less than an hour. Most of the time you’re not even fully awake, and you’re more focused on going back to bed rather than remembering formulas you tried to cram in the night before. Although there can be an adrenaline rush of taking a 75 minute long AP science test at 7:45am, it makes the afternoon crash that much worse. 

With the new attendance policy, students are also way more likely to receive detentions for tardies when they are in early bird classes. According to data received by the LFHS attendance office, there have been 1035 tardies from regular 1st period and 201 tardies from early bird classes this year. This means early bird tardies make up about 17% of all late-to-school tardies. This is relevant considering early bird students only make up 10% of all students, which means students in early bird classes are more likely to be late than the average student.

There are students who benefit from early bird classes, such as those students who are “morning people” or students in band or chorus who do not have the space for a two-period class during the day, but they are a burden for everyone else. Students shouldn’t be forced to decide whether to take a desired class or gain extra sleep. Every class offered as an early bird should have an alternative option for a two-period class during the day, regardless of how many students sign up.