The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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JRP 2.0: A New and Improved Timeline

Upper School History Department enforces new schedule for the Junior Research Paper

Though the memories of 400 Internet tabs open and hand cramps from manually inserting endnotes are probably fresh in every Hockaday graduate’s mind, the timeline of the Junior Research Paper has gone through many changes since 2005. This year, the JRP, the rite of passage for the junior class, will be due the day before winter break.

After Upper School History teacher Steve Spencer delivered an inspiring proposal to yet again alter the timeline for the JRP, the Upper School History Department worked to tweak it based off of his thought processes and develop a newer, more improved set of dates.

In efforts to quell the former rising urge amongst girls to work on their papers over vacation, the new timeline now requires a four-page rough draft before Thanksgiving Break on Nov. 24 and a final copy the day before Holiday Break, which this year begins on Dec. 19.

“[The paper] is better to be done and out of the way with so there’s nothing in the back of anyone’s mind over Christmas,” Chair of the Upper School History Department Steve Kramer said.

Upper School Head John Ashton agreed. “Our students would see their breaks as a window of opportunity, allowing for unnecessary work to be done when vacations are meant to be homework-free,” he said.

While the newer schedule constraints the paper’s due dates, the amount of time provided for juniors to work on their papers is still considered unaltered. The paper has been introduced earlier and more in-depth than it has been in the past and more time has been allocated towards working on the JRP during class.

In addition to these changes, the Upper School History teachers have altered their syllabi to better aid their students. The week before the four-page rough draft is due will be free from any homework and classes, meaning that students will be able to work on the JRP during class.

More importantly, the final weeks between Thanksgiving and Holiday Break have been transformed to dedicate much-needed time towards the paper, as there will be no homework assigned or history classes held two weeks from the final due date.

With the reassuring fact that much time will be provided to work on her paper, Junior Rajya Atluri admitted to “actually really lik[ing] the new system.” Believing that she would probably spend a specific amount of time on her paper no matter what the due date, Atluri is relieved to know that she can plan to catch her breath over Holiday Break.

Junior Elise Gunter agreed. “We all like to be dramatic but it’s actually really nice to be able to have the paper over with by Holiday Break, because any changes to a JRP over Holiday Break would end up becoming obsessive,” Gunter said.

Whether it was back when the paper was assigned throughout the second semester or when there was no page limit to the paper, this is not the first time that the JRP has undergone change.

As Kramer put it, “the process is never etched in stone” and the History Department is always aiming to make it better, something Ashton commends as impressive and thoughtful.

“This change in dates is yet another indication of the department’s efforts,” Ashton said, “In creating a process that supports the girls in managing all of their obligations.”

– Hufsa Husain

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