School Calendar and Survey

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Mar 14, 2023, 7:18:21 PM3/14/23
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Writing as a Sophomore at LAHS, I would like to share some of my thoughts and opinions about both the calendar options, and the survey sent out relating to them.

First to look at the survey, I believe some things could definitely have been done better about it. 

One of the first things I would like to address is that the survey only provides three options for a calendar, and does not include things such as simply adding two weeks at the end of the school year. A second, and larger concern I have is the lack of details about the detriments of any of the calendars. In fact, none of the calendars have detriments to choosing that calendar. This leads to my biggest concern about the survey, which is the clear bias it holds for the balanced schedule. While the balanced schedule has a whole list of benefits, the 188 day calendar only really has one, flexibility. On the other hand, the extended hours have no information about its benefits, only having information about what it would entail. Even this information seems lacking, while it does give the length that the school day would become it does not specify how much time would be added on an individual day, or even how long the school days currently are. The way information is presented clearly leads people to the balanced calendar instead of providing pros and cons for each individually. For a change as drastic as potentially completely changing the calendar, people deserve more information about each.

To look at the year round calendar in particular, the calendar the survey seemed to try to get people to lean to. I think that this calendar has many unintended consequences. First one of the main benefits the calendar includes is the decrease of learning loss. However any amount of learning loss that may occur is far outweighed by the detriments. The first detriment of this calendar is that it actually worsens the problem of student attendance. Many longer summer events are built around a traditional school schedule, happening in the summer. With a year round schedule students might miss large chunks of school to attend statewide or national events that have been placed in summer to avoid conflict with school. For events that fall in early summer, students might miss critical weeks, possibly finals week, to go to these events, or be prevented from doing them in the first place. A year round schedule would also make it harder for students who get summer jobs, often to save up for college. With such a short summer break, this might no longer be viable. Another issue this calendar may cause is for things such as marching band that can have a pre season starting 1-2 weeks before school. Students in activities like these might only have 2-3 weeks off before going right back to work. The shortness of summer break also has a high risk of burnout and could drastically worsen mental health. With a traditional schedule, summer is long enough for students to rest and recuperate, but with shorter breaks students would have much less time to reset. A shorter summer also means that for classes that have summer assignments the rest would be even less, as students would have less time to do these in a year round schedule, than in a traditional schedule. With less time to reset students would be constantly burned out and depressed, this has a strong risk of increased self harm and suicide rates, which are already less than ideal in this county. It is clear a year-round schedule cases more problems than it solves, and every fellow student I have talked with is vehemently against it.

Some of the other schedules have issues as well. The 188 day schedule or simply adding days still risks running into summer events. Additionally, extending the school day brings forth the question of what that time would be used on, and could also worsen already short teen sleep schedules. However the harms caused by the year round schedule far outweigh these.

With this I urge against the year round schedule and urge consideration of a calendar that would have less of a drastic change to what we have currently, and less disastrous consequences on students. The transitional schedule is a good compromise, and could work as long as it did not change into year round. The extending hours is simple, and would have the least upheaval. Adding more days at the end of the year is simple. 

Finally I would like to urge that for whatever decision is made, consideration should be held for the fact that many people have already made summer plans, and In making huge changes to the beginning of the year, issues may be caused for many families.

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