Rising sophomores to lose AUT period


Katie Topouria

Plans for RBHS’ next school year have been starting to shift and change. Alternating Unassigned Time (AUT) is a free period that sophomores through seniors have been able to put in their schedule this year; however, next year, sophomores may not be allowed to have AUT.
The space for AUT will be replaced by advisory, which was only for freshmen this year. Advisory and AUT both are used for studying or completing school work, but students in AUT can leave campus with parent permission.  In advisory, students can leave the class if they have no grades below a C, but they must check in every 30 minutes.
Next year there will also be no Bruin Block, which started in the 2013-2014 school year to help students prepare for college. One reason for the change is to give more support to sophomores, Dr. Jennifer Rukstad, principal, said.  Using advisory is a way for students to get free time, but also to get the support they need in school.
“I will say we were somewhat tentative about giving sophomores AUT this year. It’s been many years since that has been the case, and we want to make sure we are providing enough support to our students,” Dr. Rukstad said. “With the loss of Bruin Blocks for next year, our regular connection to sophomores was completely lost outside of standard classes. We believe there are some vital support functions that need to be met with sophomores, and at this time, our best structure for that is advisory.”
For many freshmen, the idea of not getting the AUT they expected is upsetting.
“This year’s sophomores had the freedom that comes with AUT, and we were promised that freedom, but it was taken away,” freshman Hannah Evans said.
Most sophomores next year will also have their driver’s licenses and will be able to drive but not leave school. Freshman Liam Stanley is a student who will be able to drive next year.
“It’s unfair that I will be able to drive and not leave,” Stanley said.
However, senior Renata Williams said the addition of advisory for sophomores is not all bad. She had advisory as a sophomore and said it was a helpful and positive experience.
“It was nice having advisory because you got to know your senior mentors and other students that  you might not  have gotten to know, and you got to do stuff that invited you to be a part of the school when you didn’t really feel like you were a part of it.” Williams said. “A positive to sophomores getting advisory again would be them getting to know and be a part of the community.”
Sophomore Kathleen John said she can see an advantage to having some sort of down time during the school day. She said when spending AUT time wisely, a student can get on top of their school work to help improve grades.
“AUT has helped me a lot this year, especially with two honors classes and after school activities.  It’s given me so much needed time to catch up on school work on my own time, as well as getting a break and just hanging out with my friends,” John said. ”During AUT I also have time to talk to teachers on any assignments and go in for tutoring for STEM classes.”
Although many are upset about this change of events, advisory and Algebra teacher Teresa Norton said the change will be alright for sophomores.
“There are benefits to giving sophomores advisory,” Norton said. “In advisory you have teachers to help give you an extra push to do your work and keep grades up so you can leave the class. When given an opportunity of not working, students are more likely to not do their work.”
By Rebecca Gray
Photo by Cassi Viox