EYE 2 EYE: Friday Connect Periods


Oliver Carter and Navya Batra explore the pros and cons of Connect Fridays.

Anti Connect Period: Fraud Fridays

Why the fifth day of the week is becoming more and more of a joke at OPHS

By: Oliver Carter

Growing up, I had always expected to listen to Rebecca Black’s “Friday” following a long and rough school day –– not at 10 a.m. Heck, I don’t even have my morning coffee by then.

Between five and a half days to one week straight (yes, the 24 hours and all) is approximately how much total class time an Oak Park High School student loses given the Friday Connect and independent work day system implemented by our school during distance learning. 

Granted, it was a protocol that was originally warranted this year, ideally being a 45-minute period where students are updated and educated on the current tidings of OPHS, without being entirely hassled by extra stressors that naturally come with this new phenomenon of learning online.

While this may have been a nice day-long break for your average underclassman, for someone whose knowledge of this year’s information is tested by the ever-present and omniscient College Board, 32 fewer school days of learning is an incredibly significant loss. 

With the existing loss of education that comes with a lack of science labs, entire units on math and projects like Geofest, having to learn at a rate of, mathematically speaking, approximately 1.25 times faster than normal is a rather intimidating idea.

If all of the advisory periods were added up throughout the entire school year, it would equal a total of 24 hours –– one day straight. And for what? To hear that new ASB apparel has launched? Or that the Esports club is today at lunch? Or to let Peardeck know that I’m feeling “☺” today? Color me unimpressed.

“The math [department] had all summer to plan ahead and adjust for the lack of instruction on Fridays,” an anonymous public comment submitted to the Feb. 16 Board Meeting read. “OPUSD clearly admitted they are behind in instruction because there is no class Friday. Our kids want to learn on Fridays. At the town hall meeting last summer, we were promised a ‘robust education’ and told it wouldn’t be like the spring. Instead, students will learn even LESS material this year.”

“My child will not learn all of Algebra 1 because of missed instructional days on Fridays,” another anonymous letter to the Board read. “I am offended at the suggestion that my child can learn the skipped concepts later at Oak Park High [School].”

Sure, while there are admittedly some valuable topics every few advisory periods, these are topics I personally believe belong in proactive class discussions, mandatory virtual assemblies or even in a student’s household. All of these are doable, rather than Fridays being specifically manufactured to shove an aggressively liberal agenda down students’ throats. 

There will inevitably be aspects of this school year that will continue on in years to come, but we cannot let the lack of a Friday school day be one of those. I am advocating for a full Friday school day, in contrast to a Friday advisory period and independent work day, not because I yearn for endless hours of schooling, but rather because I care about my future. 

Regardless of your standpoint, I think we can all take in the remarks of honorary philosopher Rebecca Black that “we’re all “lookin’ forward to the weekend.”

Pro Connect Period: Keep Fridays Class-less

Why having a Friday Connect period and independent work day is beneficial for OPHS students

By: Navya Batra

Having a three-day weekend being the norm was always an unattainable dream I had as a kid. Now, not only is it a reality, but it’s proven to provide leisure and comfort for so many distance learning kids. I propose we continue online Friday Connect period and independent work day even after regular in-person instruction resumes.  

Before I jump into my argument, I want to use this opportunity to explain what the Friday Connect Periods are. On Fridays, students have a 45-minute period to connect with the homeroom teacher of the week. Essentially, on week one, students meet from 9:15-10 a.m. with their period one teacher, week two with period two, week three with period three, and so forth. During Connect, teachers and students discuss school news, global news and/or social issues of the time like systemic racism and cyberbullying. The rest of the day is expected for students to catch up on missed schoolwork, complete assignments or use their free time any way they wish. 

I’ve found that a common complaint of Friday Connect/independent work day is the loss of lecture time on class content. Specifically, during the Feb. 16 Board meeting, many attendees were quite vocal about their dislike for the Friday Connect Periods. However, it was severely overlooked that these are often parents’ or adults’ points of view. The students, who mind you are the ones who are actually attending school, may have different opinions. 

“Having a work day instead of another day of instruction lets me process and remember the things I learned throughout the week. Plus, my mental health is way better because [Friday Connects] give students a small break to catch up and lessen their workload,” senior Sasha Xu said. 

Having a three-day weekend and a four-day school week, contrary to many adult opinions, can actually promote learning. It gives students an extra day dedicated to school work, while also giving them enough time to take care of themselves. 

According to an article by The Advocate, student attendance actually increased during four-day weeks. This is because students who work or need to support lower-income families have the opportunity to set time aside for work alongside school. Having a 45-minute period gives students enough time to socialize and connect with teachers through discussion, while also allowing them to finish tasks needed for themselves at their own paces.

Additionally, our Friday Connect system requires all teachers to hold ‘office hours’ for any students who need additional help. So, those who so frustratingly complain that Friday Connects are “32 less school days of learning” and “an incredibly significant loss” are simply denying the fact that students have an opportunity to visit their teachers. If a student is struggling and desperately needs to make up the lost time of those 32 days of learning, they are at all liberty to visit their teachers for extra one-on-one help. 

Fridays as an independent work day give students the time and opportunity to learn  to manage their time and prioritize their mental health. Students can use these days to study and catch up on a long school week, learn life skills at work, spend quality time with family and friends, or focus on interests and hobbies that they can’t do while in school. These opportunities of self-growth compared to a lesson in Algebra are simply non-negotiable.

If our education system spent half the time focusing on current events, students’ emotional and physical health or navigating the real world than it does teaching students how to find the weight of the hundredth cantaloupe, the world would be set for a much better future. 

I advocate that we keep Friday Connect periods and Friday as an independent work day because although it may decrease time for instruction, it gives students the chance to expand themselves. 


  • There has been a fair share of valuable topics presented in Friday advisory periods
  • A “three day weekend,” barring academic consequences, can be a nice way to relax
  • Many times, people do not use Friday independent work days as is advised