Board considers extending school year
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Students might be attending school until Wednesday, June 5, in order to make up the three days Central missed the week of Jan. 28 because of extreme cold and snow conditions.
At the board meeting on Monday, Feb. 4, the school board talked about extending the school year up until June 5 for both South and Central, to compensate for the missing school days. This was the recommendation of Dr. Bruce Law, superintendent. The board will vote on this issue at an upcoming meeting.
“I think it’s unnecessary [to make up the snow days] because we already go for the maximum amount of days,” said Sophia Panos, junior.
Final exams for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors then start on Wednesday, June 3, instead of Tuesday, May 28. This change would not affect seniors as they would have already graduated on Wednesday, May 22.
“It’s a pain that we have to go to school in June, but it’s understandable. There were some days we got off that we probably shouldn’t have,” said Akash Goel, sophomore.
One issue resulting from this possible extension is that Islamic holiday Eid al-Fitr begins on June 3 and ends the next day, directly coinciding with the first and second day of final exams.
Some students aren’t happy about the extension because of planned trips and other activities that will have to be rescheduled. Other students are worried that teachers won’t be able to get through the necessary lessons before the AP exams in early May. The test dates for the exams are set by the national college board and cannot be changed.
“That is a challenge and a problem,” Law said in an interview with The Chicago Tribune. “Teachers are concerned they won’t get through all the material.”
Law and Principal Bill Walsh offered assurance that students would be prepared in time for the AP exams, with teachers making sure they will be as ready as possible.
The school calendar shows that days within the semester, such as President’s Day and a March 1 Institute Day had been designated as emergency days, but the district opted to end in June because student attendance had been low in previous school years when make up days happened on those days.
On a regular day about 93 percent of students are in school, Law said. However on school makeup days since January 2017, only 71 to 81 percent of the student population have attended make-up days. On February 16, 2015, an Institute Day was used as a makeup day. Only 71 percent of students came to school and only 35 percent of seniors attended.
Next year the district is planning on having “E-learning” days that would consist of students learning from home using their Chromebooks in place of canceling school. Students and teachers would be able to communicate remotely and continue their studies and not have to make up the days later.
The district is planning to practice these online learning days in April.