Opinion: Next year’s school schedule includes a much shorter spring holiday, but is that really a bad thing?
by Taylor Isenberg
Spring break is a tradition in America. In high school, spring break is a time when students go to warm sandy places after a grueling winter of work or stay curled up in their beds watching Netflix. If spring break is gotten rid of entirely, it will not only help better prepare students for testing in May, but will also allow students to get out of school earlier or go back to school later.
Spring break in Calvert County Public Schools has historically been the week before Easter with students off ten straight days including Easter Monday. Good Friday and Easter Monday are already days we would be off, so it’s logical that Spring Break would be scheduled that entire week.
For the 2016-2017 school year, the normal week-long spring break is being cut back. The calendar for the year indicates that spring break will only last from Thursday, April 13 to Monday, March 17. This new five day break is a change from the normal 10 day break.
Benefits to a shorter break include the fact that summer could be made longer. Next year, students will have the latest start date in a long time. For the first time since at least the 2008 school year, school will start on August 29 with the school year still scheduled to end on June 15.
Students in AP classes will benefit from having a reduced spring break. All school systems have a set number of days in a class before the AP tests. If a school system gets a lot of snow days, it can make it hard for teachers to fit all the material in before the test day because they can’t move the AP test back, it’s on a set date. Giving students longer to study and learn the material would benefit these students.
AP tests are important, but they are optional and not all students take them, unlike the mandatory HSA’s and PARRC Assessments that all students must take to graduate. “We need to schedule instructional days first,” Calvert County Public School’s Superintendent Dr. Daniel Curry said. “Making up snow days in mid-June has little value. Yes, I believe in getting out earlier, but we must get in our required 180 student days.” For students to be fully prepared for standardized tests, we might need to give up luxuries like a longer spring break or a two week winter break.
With a spring break starting on a Thursday and ending on a Tuesday, it will be more difficult for people to schedule vacations. However, if people still take Easter vacations they may just have to miss a few days of school.
While there is a history behind spring break, students would want to have a longer summer. Students might be upset that an entitlement is being taken away but the end result will be a longer summer. No one likes school in the middle of June.
Shortening spring break won’t give students the instant gratification they want. They will see the middle of the school year as a long drawn out stretch of school days. While students do deserve a time to relax, they still have the winter and Thanksgiving breaks. A shorter spring break will still give students a needed break without putting a dent in summer plans.
Shortening spring break is a good idea as it will help prepare students academically for standardized testing. It should not be eliminated entirely, but five days off is still plenty. A school year without spring break is like a dog without a bone, unfathomable.