The Switch


Lindsay Folker

This year the winter finals’ schedule has been changed. This change has been up for debate for a few years and last year there was an incentive to finally change the schedule. This year it has been changed. Instead of having finals after winter break, they are now before winter break. This is not uncommon as other schools like Vernon Hills and Deerfield have their finals before winter break. This strategy allows students to have a stress free winter break and for break to be what it needs to be: a break. However, with this new switch, it raises some issues about the two weeks after break that are still first semester or the schedule it self. There is a wide variety of opinions around the school from teachers and students alike. Some like it; some don’t.

Some pros to this schedule include the fact that winter break is a break. A main reason for this change in scheduling was for mental wellness. Kids didn’t feel that winter break was actually a break. Instead, it was spent worrying about finals or studying or stressing that they aren’t studying. However, this is the only argument this side has. There are students arguing that they never felt stressed during break. They actually liked studying during break since they had a free schedule in order to study. They could spread out their studying time to make it less stressful. Now, with the switch, kids are left to study for finals on top of school work. Instead of studying a whole day during break, kids now have only a certain amount of time to study after school. Studying now conflicts with winter sports, after school activities, or sleep. Even after break, there was a whole week reserved for review before finals. Now that week is spent either still learning new materials, doing class work, or even completing assessments.

We are even losing some fondly held holiday traditions. We can no longer do the holiday door decorating contest help by student council. This contest was usually held the week before winter break however this week is now finals week. We can no longer see the festive decorated door or Mrs. Cooney’s elaborate entrance. Also we are losing band-o-grams. This is not only devastating to the student community but also to the band students. Band-o-grams were some band students favorite events they did and now they can no longer perform for their fellow peers. The music was always a treat to hear over the school and it was also a way to show appreciation to others. This kind and festive activity is now no longer because of the switch.

With the switch, teachers are left to manipulate their schedules. Especially for one semester classes, teachers are forced to either cut down materials or speed it up in order to fit everything. Even year long classes are switched around in order to teach everything in time. This leads to an awkward two-week long time period of semester one after winter break. Where there would be finals, there is now just two free weeks of potentially nothing. For year long classes, it is said that most classes will just keep teaching onto semester two even though it is still semester one. However, for semester classes, there is the question of what to do. How will these classes grade anything if the grading stops after the final? Will this mean that anything done after winter break is pointless? We won’t know till it happens, but it seems pretty ridiculous.

The majority of kids never did feel stressed during winter break. They may have felt a little bit because they knew finals were close or that they wouldn’t remember anything after break. However, no one thought about it until break was coming to an end, and we still had a week of review before finals week. Now with the switch, kids are left to study for finals on top of their regular school work. The time to study is now shortened with the only time given to study now being after school or after sports or other activities. Now, with fewer than two weeks before finals, teachers are still teaching new materials, kids are still having tests, and finals are creeping up on everyone quickly. How this switch will actually turn out, only time will tell. But from where I am standing right now, I don’t see this switch being beneficial.