A nine-period day for both Riverhead High School and Riverhead Middle School is in discussion for next year, the board of education announced at Monday’s meeting.

“We’ll be able to offer more courses for students, more electives, and really get the district back to where it was when there used to be the nine-period day,” Superintendent Augustine Tornatore said. “So it’s something that we’re really looking forward to.”

The school district abolished the nine period day for the schools in favor of an eight-period day most recently in 2014, resulting in one less class, but longer class times. The change drew criticism from both students and parents, who argued the elimination of a class period hindered students’ academic success by not providing sufficient time for electives and lunch breaks.

The district said the elimination of the ninth period was a result of increased enrollment, the elimination of teaching positions and an increased number of students in study hall classes. 

In April, the district named the nine-period day as one of the possible applications of an influx of state funding. Tornatore said the district is crafting a “fair” budget to be voted on by the community that, if adopted, will allow the school to implement the ninth period and add more classes.

“We’re hopeful that by the manner in which we scheduled different coursework, that they’ll be able to have those choices. So it really does open up more for the students,” Tornatore said.

Board President Laurie Downs said she has supported nine-period days ever since she was elected and sounded ecstatic as she made the announcement.

Riverhead High School Principal Sean O’Hara said he is “looking forward to working with the committee to explore how we can maximize the benefits of a nine-period day. This is an opportunity to enhance the educational experience for all of our students,” he said.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: [email protected]