School Board Discusses Potential Calendar Changes (Click here to take the NWN Poll)

By Ivana Kosir

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Flash back to winter break. You were most likely in one of two bad situations: 1) your backpack was overloaded with textbooks you didn’t know you had and you spent a good amount of time studying or doing other schoolwork during break, or 2) you didn’t bring home anything and you certainly didn’t do any work, but you came back to school completely swamped with tests and projects on top of all those thick review packets to do for finals. Either way, it was a fairly aggravating time.

It is partially due to these reasons that the school board started discussing potential changes for the 2013-2014 school year. In the proposed calendar, school would start earlier in August and end in the third or fourth week in May, resulting in finals before winter break.

According to school board president Bob Silverman, students have asked the board to consider this schedule change.

“Now, you have to worry about finals over break. [With the proposed change], students get a chance to get a clean break over break,” Silverman said.

 

WHAT TEACHERS THINK

Silverman also said that teachers wouldn’t have to spend the first week and a half reviewing old material. However, according to NTFT vice president and psychology teacher Steve Grossman, teachers seem to have mixed opinions.

“The bottom line is there are some good [aspects], but lots of problems are raised,” he said.

English teacher Kristen Jackson highlighted her opinion.

“I would not like to start earlier, mostly for personal reasons,” said Jackson. “It’s more reliably summer in August than in June, and I’d rather have summer during the nice and warm months.”

Psychology teacher and football coach Scott Baum sees otherwise.

“As a teacher, it’d be neat to end the semester before winter break, looking at attendance and vacation plans [of students].  As a coach, practice usuallys starts around [August 9], so we’d be able to recruit freshmen [earlier in the season].”

Yet, Baum said he also sees negative aspects of this change.

“I’d have to find someone else to entertain my kids for a couple of weeks because they don’t start school until after Labor Day,” Baum said.

Another concern for Jackson affects students directly: the ability for students to work summer jobs.

“A lot of students can’t work in summer camps because they’d be in school while camp was still in session,” Jackson said.

 

WHAT STUDENTS THINK

Despite teacher beliefs, students say they seem to like this idea.

“A lot of students tend to forget things over break. It’d be better to have [finals] before,” said junior Awais Ahmed.

Junior Heasu Kim agrees.

“I would prefer to have finals before break. Kids just want a break. The last thing on our minds is school; it’s not even a school break,” Kim said.

In addition to some calendar changes, the school board has been discussing a policy where every student is required to have a lunch period. According to Silverman, this potential change is for the health of students.

“Eating lunch is an important part of the day. Well- nourished kids do better,” he said.

Students, on the other hand, claim they are not in favor of this idea.

“Lunch should be optional because if a student wants it, they’ll put an effort in to get in their schedule. It’s the student’s choice,” Kim said.

“For me, lunch is a pretty pointless period. It should be up to the student,” Ahmed said.

Silveman understands these concerns.

“My personal concern is that it will get in the way of students taking classes that are only offered during lunch periods,” he said.

These changes are only being discussed; therefore, there is no expected time when it will take place.

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Take the NWN Poll–or comment below to have your voice heard!

Do you support this change to the school-year calendar?

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