Portola Pilot

Why There Is Not and Should Not Be a Zero Period

Jacob Kim, Marketing Manager

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One controversial decision made last year was to not include zero period in the class schedule. Although every other Irvine Unified School District high school offers a zero period, Portola rightfully omitted a zero period.

“I looked at a bunch of research, and it’s all out there that the later you can start, the better,” Principal John Pehrson said.

Pehrson stresses that sleep is extremely valuable for students and that a zero period will keep students from getting enough sleep if they need to wake up an hour earlier.

According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, “If middle and high school students are allowed to wake up later in the morning, they’ll be more focused during the day, more alert behind the wheel and less likely to be late or absent from school.”

If this is true, why do so many other schools offer this extra period?

“For music, performing arts and especially for marching band, zero period would be great… because activites are outside of the normal day, which gives students more options to choose more classes,” Visual and Performing Arts department chair Desmond Stevens said.

Advocates for zero period may be concerned as to how students will be able to participate in all their extracurriculars without the extra period. Pehrson’s solution to this issue was to offer eight periods instead of six.

Pehrson and the administration took everything into consideration when making this decision. The main obstacle to starting school later was that some students would not be able to fit all of their extracurriculars, but even then, Portola’s eight-period day accounts for the extra classes students want to take.

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Why There Is Not and Should Not Be a Zero Period