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Students React to Schedule Changes

Courtesy of Guiliana Datnoff

Courtesy of Guiliana Datnoff

Guiliana Datnoff, Editor-in-Chief

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With spring break just over a month away, students’ excitement for a needed breather before PARCC tests, SAT day, and weeks of frantic preparation for upcoming AP exams grows. Plans are arranged for international vacations and week-long sleep sessions, while juniors use the week as an opportunity to schedule college tours. Unfortunately for these grateful students, this wonderful amount of available free time that they have this year will be spent grudgingly in school next year; the 2017-2018 BCPS schedule includes only a four-day weekend as a “spring break.”

This is the result of an executive order issued by Governor Larry Hogan on August 31, 2016 that requires Baltimore County public schools to start after Labor Day but still conclude by June 15th. Hogan made the change with the goals of generating more business for the state’s economy, giving families more time to spend together, and preventing students from sitting in hot classrooms that lack air conditioning. Despite initial possibilities for waivers to exempt school districts from the new schedule requirements, the governor has since passed another executive order to limit waivers solely to charters and schools with low performance or a history of frequent closures for bad weather.

So how do these new requirements impact the schedule for students and teachers? Hogan’s executive order means that the school district still needs to cram in the same 180 school days but in a shorter amount of time, causing the board to cut out half-days for lower schools, professional development days, and breaks. Specifically, the current 2017-2018 schedule not only cuts spring break in half from ten to four days, but it also removes a professional development day in order to start school two weeks later.

“It’s not really a break,” says Braylen Mims (’18), frustrated with the new schedule changes.

This appears to be the consensus among Pikesville students, who are angered and disappointed by the shortened break that they feel is necessary for recuperation. While they are in favor of the extended summer, most students are not willing to sacrifice their spring break for the extra two weeks. They need the time during the spring to catch up on responsibilities and study for quickly approaching exams. Other students fear that the longer summer will only cause them to forget more of what they have learned.

“I’m really sad. It’s terrible. A four-day weekend is not fair because I work too hard and need my rest,” shares Eleena Feinberg (’19).

Hopefully students will learn to adjust to the loss of spring break by using their available time more productively. Perhaps they could start studying for SATs and APs earlier in the year, possibly even purchasing and skimming review books in the weeks leading up to the first day of school. Unless the waiver requirements are eased or a new week-long religious holiday is introduced on April 3rd, the updated schedule is not likely to be cancelled. So enjoy the upcoming spring break; it is the last one you will get.

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Students React to Schedule Changes