Eagle Opps Explained

Jackson Stephens and Jackson Palmer

The period known as “Eagle Opps” has gone through a couple revisions over the past few years. It started in 2017 as “Eagle Halftime”, a 50 minute period in the middle of the day where students could eat lunch, get academic help, and hang out with their friends, while also serving as a mental break in the crazy world that is high school.

Now that school is back in session full time, many students are wondering how Eagle Opps works while other students already have some opinions on North’s unique study hall hour.

“I like that it allows us to eat lunch with people we choose and

that we have a designated time to meet with teachers or clubs”, junior Matt Coffman said. “I thought Eagle Halftime was better but I understand why the change was made.”

Some students are still wondering why Halftime hasn’t made a comeback now that everyone is back in person.

According to Principal Jason Herman, Halftime hasn’t returned because, “To the state, we weren’t proving enough academic minutes throughout your entire day because we had 50 minutes of [free choice], right? I couldn’t prove that Jimmy and Sally were actually going and getting academic support unless it was put in Student Conductor.”

Unfortunately, this means that Halftime is unlikely to return to the school in the future. However, Eagle Opps is an alternative that some students find useful. Sophomore Carter Steenhard particularly enjoys the independence the hour gives him.

“I like the freedom to be able to go to clubs and get help from teachers and potentially see friends,” Steenhard said.

What exactly is this hour of freedom that occurs four times a week? Luckily, Herman has the answer to this question and more.

He explains Eagle Opps as a “place to support a break in the middle of the day where students have the option to determine how they want to use some academic time. (…) They also can determine when they and who they want to eat lunch with. Eagle Opps. equals Eagle opportunities.”

In short, Eagle Opps is essentially what Halftime was, just with more structure. Do you have lunch during office hour A and want to eat with your friends that have B? Get a pass to go see a teacher during A and hang out with your friends during B. There are also ways to make better use of your time if you are in a pinch.

“[I]f you chose to, you really could go see

two teachers (…). You’re like ‘I’m gonna just kind of eat my lunch as I’m moving, but I’m gonna go see my English teacher and then I’m gonna go see my math teacher cause I really need help today twice,’” Herman said.

Is there a possibility that Eagle Opps could be altered to give the students more freedom? In a word, no. The only way Eagle Opps would change would be to remove it from the schedule entirely.

Herman says that Eagle Opps is “[s]ubject to change, for sure. As a matter of fact, if we end up not liking it, I can automatically just adopt the other high school schedules and bring them in. I don’t want to go there yet. I’m not ready to give up.”

However, there is a silver lining: as long as grades stay up, Eagle Opps remains available to the student body. Herman is optimistic that Eagle Opps will remain a staple at Olathe North but takes that with a grain of salt as well.

“I will have more proof I think if I were able to get to Spring Break, because I’m gonna have a lot of grades, attendance, (…) [and] I think the data will back it up, but maybe not and then we would go traditional, andI guarantee you the minute I switch us back to traditional we’ll have bigger issues,” Herman said.

There are other factors that go into the decision of taking away Eagle Opps. The district always has a say in how the high schools do things, but Herman is still optimistic that the district will continue to allow Eagle Opps to remain as long as students take advantage of it.

“I think there’s people in the district that want to see this succeed. But it’s almost like we’re the pilot and if it doesn’t work then (…) it’s not a thing. If it works, we’ve worked all the bugs out and we’ve got [a] way to prove to the other schools that this can work”, Herman said.

Speaking of work, Eagle Opps is not a one-man project. It’s an enterprise that takes an entire school’s worth of hard-working educators and staff to keep oiled, maintained, and running buttery smooth.

Herman expounds on how hard his staff is working, saying that “the teachers, the administrators, my office staff, everybody, the counselors, we’re all working harder to make Eagle Opps work, where if I pulled all of that out, Student Conductor, all of that stuff out, it’d be easier on the teachers, it’d be easier on me. It’d be easier on the lunch folks (…) who feed you guys.”

Herman acknowledges that the staff works harder than their counterparts at other schools around the district, but all the extra work is for the students.

“We are trying something harder than what the other schools are trying to do. And it takes a lot more effort and time for us to do it. So the easy answer is: I’ll just pull us out and it’ll be easier for everybody. Life would be easier for all the adults, but [that’s] not what I think is best for kids, so that’s why we’re trying to do it.”, Herman said.