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HAP: Necessity or Disturbance?

By Nadira Benjamin ('22)

Photo courtesy of Wix

One of the many classes that South Brunswick High School offers is a Help and Access Period (HAP). This is a mandatory class for all freshmen and a few sophomores. HAP is supposed to be used as a studying period and a time when students can go for extra help.

The HAP period is also supposed to be used as time for students to complete homework within the school day. In lieu of HAP, students may take a music or an art class.

Even though it seems like HAP is beneficial towards students, some students and administrators believe that it is a useless block. HAP should be redesigned or remodeled in order to be beneficial for students.

Mr. Doug Hunt, Dean of the Classes of 2021 and 2022, believes HAP is not beneficial for the students.

He said that “SBHS should eliminate all HAPs because they are not being utilized for the purpose [they were] designed for.”

He said that he has observed that most students use HAP as a free period where they go on their phones and listen to music. Only a few kids use the period for its intended purpose.

Freshman Shamia Page confirmed this point of view.

Page said, “During HAP, I really don’t do homework. I mostly text my friends or my parents. Sometimes, I use HAP to read, but it is mostly a free block. Besides, I have Study Skills so I really don’t have work to be done in HAP.”

Study Skills is a year-round course similar to HAP. The main difference is that Study Skills gives credit. Mr. Hunt’s goal for HAP is similar to that of a Study Skills course. He thinks students should have more limited phone access so they can focus on doing work for class. If HAP were revised, Mr. Hunt would want it to also allow students to gain credits like Study Skills. Since HAP is not a traditional class, it should not be given as many credits. In Mr. Hunt’s eyes, he wants to change HAP in order to make it more structured.

Mr. Hunt said “The redesign would be more instructional with possible objectives, almost an itinerary of what it should look like, not just 88 minutes of free time.”

Freshmen Jean-Carlos Martinez has a different use of HAP.

He said, “HAP is a very useful period for me being a student athlete since my schedule can get overcrowded. However when teachers don’t assign homework or I finished all my work before the period ends it becomes useless. Having HAP is very beneficial but at the same isn’t because after I finish all my work I just goof around and play on my phone.”

Although there are no plans to remodel HAP, the change in HAP would make the course more structured as if it were one of the normal classes. Many people argue that HAP is more beneficial than detrimental. However, HAP does have its drawbacks that prevent it from being used for its intended purpose.

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