New times at Tonka

New, more structured schedules take effect


Photo by Katie Bullock

Students walk past choir director Jason Elam during passing period on Aug. 16.

Katie Bullock, Editor-in-chief

Students will need to reset their watches this year to account for a new advisory and Tonka Time schedule that takes effect starting Sept 11.

The new schedule comes after several staff members voiced concern to administration about a lack of structure during this time period in previous years.

“We had several people come to us and say they loved the interventions, that they really liked being able to work one-on-one with students but that there needed to be some changes from the way it was last year,” assistant principal Shannon Lawson said. “So what we decided to do as an administration team was try to make it as structured as possible so that those students who truly needed that help were able to get the help without distractions.”


This year, every Monday and Friday is advisory time. All students will report to their assigned advisory classroom for the entire period on Mondays where their advisory teachers will work with students checking grades, teaching school-wide lessons or imparting other information. Every other Friday, students will be allowed to attend club meetings during Club Time instead of going to Advisory. Students can only attend one club meeting per Club Time, since they cannot leave their classrooms after the tardy bell rings.

Tonka Time (formerly Intervention)

Last year’s “intervention” time is now called “Tonka Time” and is held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. During this time, students with all As, Bs, or Cs will choose one of three options and will check in on an Attendance Form to document their attendance. And, they will have to have their laptops open to their “Quick Look” schedule with grades to document they have no Ds or Fs when they enter any of these locations. They can choose:


  1. To work in any classroom assigned to a teacher on their schedule
  2. To gather in the library for quiet study time or reading
  3. To gather in the cafe for group study time or socializing


During Tonka Time, students with Ds or Fs will be assigned to a classroom on their schedule that they are earning that low grade in. They must report to these classrooms for attendance purposes.

“I think the students who do need more help are going to be getting a lot more of it because they’re going to be required to go to a specific spot,” Lawson said. “Even if they don’t want to be with that teacher they’re required to be there for attendance. The students who don’t need that help are still going to have an opportunity to work with teachers if they want to.”

According to Lawson, this allows students to be rewarded for their responsibility while still helping all students receive the help that they need.

“We decided as well that we still wanted to reward those students who didn’t need the intervention or who didn’t want the extra help. So that’s how we came up with Tonka Time for A, B, and C students,” Lawson said. “The reward for ‘Hey, I’m doing what I’m suppose to be doing and I’m being a responsible student,’ is that for 40 minutes they can listen to music or talk to their friends.”

Like last year, there will be no Advisory or Tonka Time on Thursdays due to early release.

Club Time

For Friday Club Time, students should report to their Advisory teacher before going to their club activity, and should stay in their Advisory classroom if they are not attending a club. If a student’s advisory teacher is sponsoring a club, students should report to the classroom of another teacher on their schedule.

If there are any problems with the new schedule, students can expect minor changes from administration in the future to correct those problems.

“Nothing is set in stone,” Lawson said. “We want to see how this flies for the first few months. There is always a possibility that we can find a better way to do it as well. We’re looking for anything that we need to tweak so we can do that and we’re just going to see what works and what doesn’t.”

If staff or students have any feedback on the new Tonka Time schedule, they can email Lawson or assistant principal Drew White.

“We’re collecting all of that information and we will definitely take it to the administration meetings,” Lawson said. “I’m excited to see Tonka Time up and running. I think students are really going to like it.”