SRVUSD broaches the topic of a change to the instructional calendar

SRVUSD broaches the topic of a change to the instructional calendar

The San Ramon Valley School District released a survey on Jan. 27 regarding potential changes to the instructional calendar that include starting school early August and ending school late May or early June. First semester would be scheduled to end mid-December, meaning that finals would take place the week before Winter Break.

The majority of interviewed students expressed their support for the new instructional calendar.

The central focus tended to hover around how Winter Break will actually be a break for both students and teachers. Because finals would be completed, students would no longer have homework to complete and teachers would no longer have assignments to grade.

Many complain about the current instructional calendar because Winter Break directly interferes with teaching, in that teachers must spend time to review forgotten material. Students are also expected to return to school, remembering everything they had learned two weeks prior.

Mrs. Wharton, an English 10 and AP English Literature and Composition teacher, worried about the pressure her students, as well as the rest of DV students, struggle with. She mentioned that a break would be beneficial in providing time for students to relax and relieve themselves of such stress.

A Winter Break free from homework may also give families the opportunity to travel or meet with relatives without the pressure of homework from students. The same situation applies to teachers as well, who could spend Winter Break with their loved ones instead of with stacks of ungraded papers.

The instructional calendar also favors the AP program without detrimentally disrupting a regular schedule. Students may have two or three more weeks of time with their teachers to cover more material and better prepare for the AP test. Because school ends earlier, AP students would not have to spend the last month of school, wasting their time in classes.

Mrs. Seipel, a regular and AP Psychology teacher, who is in support of the new schedule, even stated, “My scores and pass rates would increase if I had an extra three weeks.”

The early start and end to the school year, however, may disrupt student schedules.

Junior Evan Teng opposed moving finals week to the week before break.

He argued, “We wouldn’t have that extra time to study for finals over break.”

Essentially, students would lose two weeks of time to better improve their scores.

Also, most internships, SAT camps and other summer activities tend to end in mid-August. Therefore, the new instructional calendar may limit students in  opportunities to further advance their skills over the summer.

Although some believe that the instructional calendar might hinder plans for family vacation, others argue that by ending early, families would be able to start vacation in late May or early June, when flights are cheaper and tourist spots are less heavily populated, since most schools still end in mid or late June.

Other teachers with students who go to schools in different districts, which continue to start in late August and end in mid-June, claim that the new switch would disrupt their summer vacation plans.

Because most schools in the East Bay will continue to follow the current schedule, students in the athletics program have concern for the potential switch to the instructional calendar.

Mrs. Seipel was concerned about a potential week off in October in the new calendar, and how the break could affect fall sports, since without school, games may be affected.

Nonetheless, those in support of and in opposition of the instructional calendar continue to debate about potential changes to the schedule and the positives and negatives.

The new instructional calendar, if approved, is expected to be implemented as early as the 2016-2017 school year.