An Argument for Calendar C

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Mar 24, 2023, 3:32:13 PM3/24/23
to Sondra Wyman, Jennifer Guy, James Carter Payne,

Dear Mrs. Wyman, Mrs. Guy, and Mr. Payne,

I am Grafton Urbatsch, a Junior at Los Alamos High School. I am an avid member of extracurricular athletics, clubs, and am in multiple AP classes, including AP language and composition, AP biology, and AP calculus. I am reaching out today to voice my enthusiasm for calendar option C, and my disdain for calendars A and B. Although calendars A and B have benefits in their own aspects, there are far more benefits in calendar C, such as its relevance to Los Alamos Public Schools, and its value for the student body. 

A major reason behind the state’s decision to add instructional to the school year is because of New Mexico’s poor academic standing. Similarly, a major issue with New Mexico public education is its abnormally high absentee rate. New Mexico high school students have a 29% chronic absentee rate. This, however, along with poor academics, are not as big of issues in Los Alamos Public Schools. LAPS has a 23.33% chronic absentee rate, 6 percentage points below the state average (NM Public Education Department). This shows that there is a statistical correlation between absentee rates and academic performance. So does Los Alamos really need more instructional time? No, absolutely not. But because the time is required, there is no need to make major calendar changes. The only logical approach to this mandatory addition of instructional time is to make it go as unnoticed as possible, which is why calendar C is the best option. 

Another thing to consider when deciding upon a calendar is the mental health of students. Myself, along with many other students, would agree that the school year can grow hectic and mentally straining. With two really long semesters, by the end of it all, one can feel drained. It also makes retaining information harder when you are going on 3 months of school without a substantial break to gather yourself. This is where calendar C comes into play. Calendar C provides small breaks throughout the school year, which allows students to travel, relax, or just generally gather themselves. It can keep a student’s desire to learn fresh, and keep the student caught up with sleep, homework, and out of school affairs. That being said, it does mean there is a shorter summer. But is this really a bad thing? Being a student myself, I feel that after the nice long summer, I have forgotten nearly everything I learned in the year prior. It often takes 2-3 months to get back into the work ethic and understanding of the previous curriculum to excel in school. A shorter summer would fix all of these problems. The length of summer suggested in calendar C is long enough to allow families to travel, but short enough for students to retain the information gained in the previous year. 

Finally, calendar C is similar to the current calendar. Most of the mandatory instructional time needed is added in calendar C in ways such as “barbeque events” or “orientation/textbook pickup”. Things that add instructional time on paper, but are not actually instructional time. This is amazing for students because Los Alamos Public Schools do not actually need more instructional time. And because of this, the best way to add this time and meet the state’s requirement is to add it in ways which promote the student body beyond academics. Calendar C is able to be manipulated in a way that there are more days social interaction amongst students and faculty is the focal point, not academics. Because of this, calendar C will strengthen relationships between students and teachers, and amongst the student body as a whole. It will also increase student’s enthusiasm surrounding school. School will become less of something students dread, and more of something students look forward to, and teachers too. 

The best step moving forward for the calendar committee is to select calendar C as the 2023-24 school year calendar. It promotes student and teacher wellbeing while still holding Los Alamos to the high academic standard we have upheld for so long. If calendar A or B is selected, students and teachers alike will begin to despise school more than they already do. 

Thank you for your consideration of calendar C, and your contributions to the school district and the community in general. 


Grafton Urbatsch

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