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21 November . 2019

Power Hour energizes Paetow High School students

It’s hard to be a high school student, what with exams, extracurriculars and getting ready for college. Not to mention peer pressure and keeping up with all the latest happenings.

To give students a little breathing room during the school day, Paetow High School is the first high school in the Katy Independent School District to implement Power Hour at lunchtime.

By combining the 30-minute lunch break with the daily 30-minute advisory period, the Power Hour gives all students in all grade levels a full hour to meet with tutors and counselors, or take part in student club activities and study groups. In the library, they can use a computer, play a game, or use the Makerspace for projects such as 3D printing.

And, of course, have lunch. With a total of 10 lines open in the small and large cafes, students still have plenty of time to get their food and eat it in the cafeteria, in the Learning Green, or anywhere throughout campus.

In addition to its academic benefits, Power Hour gives students the opportunity to practice time management.

“Students have their schedules dictated down to the minute from kindergarten through the 8th grade. They are told when and where to go, and what to do,” said Mindy Dickerson, principal of Paetow High School. “Power Hour brings a collegiate feel to our campus, offering students a taste of the college and career life they can expect to find after they graduate.”

Giving students real-world experience in budgeting their time can help them discover the benefits of good time management, which include good grades, additional free time, and completing their checklists, Dickerson said.

On the other hand, using time poorly can lead to uncomfortable consequences such as grades that aren’t up to potential and mandatory tutorials.

Paetow students have enthusiastically embraced Power Hour, which began when Paetow opened in 2017.

Dickerson said the school is beginning to collect both hard and soft data about the benefits of Power Hour. For example, more than 1,300 students checked in for math tutorials in the first two months of the current school year.

“We were very surprised by the number of tutorial check-ins, and these were just for one subject, math,” Dickerson said.

She said the school is also taking a close look at the mental health benefits of Power Hour. So far, most of the feedback has been anecdotal, with students expressing overwhelming support for the freedom and opportunities offered to them during the midday hour, and also managing their time very responsibly. 

“Students say that Power Hour helps them to exhale and decompress,” Dickerson said. “If they can take a yoga class, or just listen to 10 minutes of music, during the hour, it makes a big positive difference in the rest of their day.”

Power Hour options also include visiting the Paetow’s College and Career Center. Operated in partnership with Houston Community College, the center offers students the opportunity to learn about college entrance requirements, discuss interests and career possibilities, and research colleges and trade schools.

Power Hour may have even contributed to Paetow’s strong showing in its first Texas Education Agency Accountability ratings.

Paetow earned the highest possible B rating from the TEA, just one point shy of an A rating, despite not having junior or senior level classes during the evaluation period. Paetow also earned six of the seven possible Distinction Designations awarded by the TEA, including distinctions for English Language Arts/Reading, Science, Social Studies and Postsecondary Readiness.

Paetow High School is part of a Katy ISD K-12 tri-campus near Elyson that also includes Bethke Elementary and Stockdick Junior High. In 2020, Katy ISD plans to open an onsite elementary school within Elyson.

Learn more about the highly regarded Katy ISD schools serving Elyson.