A “culminating experience”: students comment on new finals schedule

The school erupted in cheers as it was announced a couple weeks ago that the school year would not extend to June 12. However, students were warned not to get too excited, as there was the possibility of having school on President’s day or eliminating late start days. “Whatever,” students responded. “At least we don’t have to go until June 12.”

But a few days ago, this nonchalant attitude was called into question when the new final exam schedule was released, announcing that, because of the snow days we missed, finals will span two full weeks of school  from May 29 to June 5.

The new schedule will work like this: the day before finals, teachers will be required to give their students a full day of studying, whether it is a review day for that particular class or a study hall. Then on May 29, finals will begin. Every two days up until June 5, different final exams for different classes have been scheduled, and teachers will split their finals in half for their given two days.

In addition, students will have regular classes during the periods for which they do not have scheduled finals. During these classes, teachers are required to instruct the class. That means no movies or study time. However, none of what they teach will count for points, and they are not allowed to give homework.

Administrators are calling the new schedule a “culminating experience”, but students do not seem to be fooled by the euphemism.

“(Having full days during finals) isn’t going to ‘enhance’ our learning at all,” said Brianna Ary, junior. “This is actually probably going to make me do worse on my finals because I won’t be able to relax and study after my tests. I’ll have to be in other classes, trying to learn whatever the school board thinks we need to learn in the last week of school.”

Another rumored rule of this new schedule states that AP teachers, who usually give their finals some time in May, before the AP test, will now be required to give at least a portion of their final on their allotted days.

“For AP Euro, we take the final before the AP test because the final is similar, so it allows us to see how the AP test will work and how to budget our time,” said Savina Sahgal, sophomore. “If we have to take the AP final in fragments, we will be losing our opportunity to better prepare for the AP test.”

Students are not the only ones affected by the new schedule, teachers also shared their thoughts on the “Culminating Experience”. Ms. Rebecca O’Connor, Spanish teacher, worries about the effectiveness of their required instructional time.

“It’s hard to get kids to buy into your class in June, even with points,” O’Connor said. “When you take that away from us as something to motivate the students, it’s hard to keep kids on task.”

As far as suggestions for a better solution, students and teachers agreed they would have rather given up a few holidays and shortened schedules.

“What we really needed were some extra days [prior to final exams],” O’Connor said. “I needed days not to rush you through things I was trying to teach. At that point, we don’t need days.”

Despite students’ unhappy sentiments, this new final schedule does in fact seem to be final, and for better or for worse, the only students that will remain unaffected are seniors, who will take finals and graduate on the original schedule.