Editorial: time to end first semester before winter break
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Since the school’s opening in 2006, students have come back from winter break to a new year, but not a new semester. In order to equalize the amount of school days in the first and second semester, students must spend two weeks after break in their first semester classes, making it difficult to readjust to a schedule and engage in classes again. Frisco ISD should change this and have the first semester end before winter break.
Even though students are going back to the same classes, after two weeks of not engaging in any school work, it’s easy to forget what was learned the weeks before break. Teachers generally do not assign homework over the break or attempt to reteach the topics after the break in order to keep up with their lesson plans. Because of this, students are forced to reteach themselves topics that otherwise could have been graded and finished before break.
Speaking of which, many teachers become frustrated at students when they forget the material they studied before break or if they didn’t work on an ongoing project. The phrase “You’ve had the entire break to work on this!” is commonly heard. Again, students are given a break for a reason; if they chose to completely forget about school during the two weeks, that’s completely their right to.
Expecting students to study and spend time on schoolwork during their break defeats the purpose of having a break. Although students could review what has been covered in class during the break, it shouldn’t be their responsibility.
For students in more difficult classes, cumulative testing happens at the end of each of the two semesters. This is stressful and annoying because it takes away from the ability to enjoy the break and not have to worry about school work. Coming back from the break there is no easing into school again, as students are often forced to take tests or retests as the last days of the semester wind down.
To end the first semester before break wouldn’t be an easy solution as this would leave the second semester about 10 school days longer. However, from STAAR testing to AP exams that take place in May, the last weeks of school are often filled with meaningless work, as for all practical purposes, the class ends with the EOC or AP test.
Without finals, the last week or two of the spring semester can be useless in many classes as learning and teaching has already stopped. Therefore, there is no need for the semesters to feature the same number of days as they already have the same amount of teaching in both semesters given the way the school year ends.
Although there are some complications with ending the first semester before winter break, Frisco ISD should end the semester at the break for the benefit of students and teachers.