The Adolescent Health Survey “indicates that there are a number of students at the high school who don’t feel the sense of belonging we want them to have,” said Assistant Principal Collin Shattuck. “They don’t feel that they are closely connected to an adult in our building.”
In 2021, students at the high school, and other schools in the MetroWest community, participated in the 2021 MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey, aimed to identify areas of growth for students as well as administration. That day, 69 percent of high school students across MetroWest reported having adult support in school. However, students who report that they lack support have higher reports of mental health problems.
One solution to this issue is finding time for direct student-to-teacher interaction. Advisory, office hours, and intervention time all attempt to target the lack of connection expressed in the surveys.
“What we do is create opportunities, watch where it happens, support those along the way and listen to kids,” said Principal Jamie Chisum. “We need to pay attention to the data. And I think this is being responsive to that data.”
Intervention time, a schedule used on the first Wednesday of every month, is a block in the morning that typically runs from 8:35 to 9:50. During this reserved time, students can focus on their own needs, whether that be catching up on homework, meeting with teachers, or studying for upcoming tests.
“[Intervention time] takes the temperature of anxiety and stress of going to school down,” said Shattuck. “[It] Let’s kids know that they don’t have to worry alone.”
Office hours, on the other hand, are distinct time slots when teachers are available for targeted help. Teachers are required to hold office hours once a week, but often, the schedules of both teachers and students are difficult to align.
Currently, the teachers’ contract requires teachers to hold 35-minute office hour blocks a week for teacher assistance. The purpose of office hours is to have the agenda be student-focused. With this model, any student can have guaranteed time to see their teachers. In effect, this time gives students more clarity and understanding of the material.
Not only this, but students can derive a relationship with their teachers through outside time, whether they’re able to attend intervention or office hours.
“It feels like they can understand me and my problems,” said Aura Sehdev ’26. That connection is made if you go after school or during school hours.”
However, it’s often that students need to schedule a time outside of regularly scheduled office hours to meet with teachers due to overscheduling.
“Office hours look really good on paper, but I’ve only seen one student in my office hours and that was to make up a quiz,” said Mr. Kyle Gekopi, president of the Wellesley Educators Association (WEA) and psychology teacher at the high school.
In the past year, the WEA has advocated for a reassessment of office hours.
“What we really want to do is study them because we’re not opposed to them in broad principle, but the way that they’re implemented is not necessarily good for students, or educators who are trying to be flexible with their lives,” said Gekopi.
Alternatively, intervention time serves as a time for students to advocate for themselves and meet with teachers. With this model, there are fewer scheduling conflicts since intervention time exists as a block allotted for help within the school day. However, intervention blocks only fall on unique days or half days once a month.
“Feedback [on intervention time] has been overwhelmingly positive. It creates valuable opportunities for students and teachers to meet one-on-one,” said Shattuck. “Teachers and students are getting to know each other better in those environments, and that’s a tremendous benefit.”
When asked their opinions on intervention time, through a survey conducted by The Bradford, 66.7 percent of students in a small data set thought intervention time was most beneficial, while 33.3 percent preferred office hours.
During contract negotiations, the WEA and administration suggested the idea of incorporating intervention time into the school year weekly. Various schools in the MetroWest area have a pre-existing block dedicated to intervention time each day, or week. Often it’s referred to as a ‘flex period’ for every student.
If they could have intervention time once a week, 58.3 percent of students at the high school would consider it, and 33.3 percent would immediately adopt this schedule. 8.3 percent of students would not like to introduce intervention time on a regular basis, according to the Bradford survey.
“For people who have extracurriculars and after school activities I think that intervention time is very helpful for finding time to meet with your teachers,” said Conor McClennon ’25.
The topic of intervention time has been at the forefront of many conversations amongst administration in the past year. The implications of making this minor change are quite large, however, affecting bus schedules and drop-offs, among other considerations.
“It’s more complicated than a lot of folks realize, and I learned that firsthand this year,” said Shattuck. “But yes, the time is always right for the conversation on how we can do this.”
Proposals of an intervention time model have been made to the Faculty Senate. But, the model hasn’t been piloted yet.
“We would really need community buy-in to make a shift like this to our schedule, and we need to work harder to get it,” said Shattuck.
For now, the intervention time and office hour debate is stalled. With the most recent WEA contract settled, the current office hours model will be observed for two years. The conversation will be reassessed in the next contract cycle.
Regardless of the opinion, student voices will provide a basis for direction and intention during the planning process.
“We’re here to support you [the students], and we’re trying to do our best with what the diverse needs are of the student body,” said Gekopi. “I’d encourage all of the leaders and student body to go to any organizations that are trying to advance this conversation, and really weigh in.”
In an effort to continue hearing from students, the high school invited students to participate in the 2023 MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey on Wednesday, November 15. Though not obligatory, the administration emphasized the growing need to improve education and mental health services in regard to the variety of health issues present in the student body.
Further, the administration requested that students fill out a Google form to gauge the effectiveness of office hours and intervention time. The form was created to ensure that each student receives the support they need.