Why is homeroom important?


Jen Last’s senior homeroom enjoys spending time together

Kelly Horan and Ava Easterly

After a tactical decision years ago to change homeroom from meeting first thing in the morning to meeting for 28 minutes from 1:11 to 1:39 p.m. (prior to the final class period), many students, teachers, and administrators have shared differing opinions regarding this schedule adjustment.

Originally, homeroom’s purpose was to provide students with scheduled time to gather at the beginning of the school day, complete necessary work, meet with teachers, or spend a few minutes getting organized before a full day of classes. However, the SHS administration felt homeroom would serve a greater purpose, and be more beneficial to teachers and students, if it was pushed to later in the day. This schedule change raised an important question: What is the purpose of homeroom, and does this new time, known as H-Block, serve its intended purpose?  

When surveying the halls and classrooms during H-Block, it became apparent that all students spend their homeroom time differently. The halls are filled with clusters of seniors catching up outside their classrooms and students roaming the hallways; subsequently, many students spend their time talking to teachers, catching up on work, completing homework, or meeting with school leaders and organizations. Depending on the student, homeroom is spent differently— some use it to cram in a homework assignment because they will be too busy to complete it later, while others use it as a time to relax and catch up with friends. 

Dr. Lisa Maguire, Scituate High School’s principal, explained the purpose of homeroom from her perspective. Maguire began by stating that homeroom is a “necessary break in the day,” a break that promotes the opportunity to see extra help or collaboration. A “flexible time” for students and faculty to work together without having to stay past 2:46 p.m. The main purpose of H-Block is to give students and teachers the opportunity to lighten their load and clarify any class-specific questions or confusion.

When asked whether or not the SHS community uses this time as it is intended, Maguire responded, “I think a lot of students and teachers use it very appropriately and very well.” She explained that students use their time for a variety of school-related activities. Maguire was very transparent, admitting that “people aren’t 100% on all the time,” but homeroom has a niche for everybody.

When asked if she could ever see SHS without homeroom, Maguire revealed she wouldn’t want to see it dissolve. Students and teachers “build relationships,” especially since H-Block allows teachers to build a lasting four-year relationship with their homeroom students. For Maguire, homeroom is all about relationships, bonding, and encouraging positive habits.   

SHS science teacher Jen Last shared a few words about her experience as a homeroom teacher. With her homeroom class consisting of seniors, she has been with the same students for four years. Throughout this time, she has seen “students getting homework done, shooting hoops, and working in the library.” Although many students use homeroom time constructively, Last explained, “People aren’t 100% on all the time, but I know that there is a range of things that they can do.” Despite students not always taking the opportunities homeroom grants, Last doesn’t want to see any changes with homeroom because it is the perfect time for college visits, advisory programs, extra help sessions, relationship building, and a simple 28-minute break in the day. Last feels homeroom time is beneficial because “there is value in being in the same room with the same kids for four years where you can build a relationship, especially for people who have things after school that can have the flexibility to do it during the school day.” 

SHS senior Katherine McCarthy shared her personal experiences and opinions regarding homeroom. McCarthy enjoys homeroom because she likes getting a break in the middle of the day from her heavy workload to relax and catch up with friends. When asked about how productive she is during that time, McCarthy answered, “No, because I easily get distracted by friends.” Although feeling unproductive during homeroom, she occasionally has to finish up on labs and work that wasn’t completed in class. No matter what she is doing during this time McCarthy explained that if homeroom were to dissolve, she would be upset because she needs the break from the long, tiring school day.

Homeroom has always been a part of the fabric of Scituate High School, and no matter where in the schedule it falls–it appears to be here to stay.