Observer Opinion: start school earlier, end earlier

By Paige Tasin, Social Media Manager

Most students spend more time wandering the halls during the last few weeks of school than sitting in their classrooms. With content dwindling during the last few weeks, it is very common for a school to feel pointless. Starting the school year in mid-August and ending in mid-May will remove this awkward gap and maximize efficiency in the classroom.
AP exams take place during the first two weeks of May. Most high school students take multiple exams per year and typically have about half their classes consisting of APs in any given year. This means for the last month of school students have no new content to learn and are stuck with busy work.

If the school year began earlier, students would be able to get out of school right after the AP season. This would allow for more review time in the classroom before the exam. Many courses are often scrambling to finish content before the exam. If classes began earlier, content would most likely be reviewed in its entirety before exams began. This could increase scores on exams, therefore, benefiting students and MCPS.

APs help students gain college credit and can thus save them a hassle in the future. If students could get higher scores, they will be more likely to take these courses and benefit from it. With more review time they will likely do better on the exam. In courses that already have a decent amount of review time already built in, this could allow them to spend more time covering content and not make the courses as rushed.

The last day of school for seniors this year is May 26th. Yet, other students continue instruction until mid-June. This indicates that all coursework after May 26th is essentially useless. If a quarter of the student population in our school system can miss these weeks, then there clearly isn’t much necessary content to cover.

Many courses at our school taken by seniors are also available to juniors. This leaves the few juniors in those classes with nothing to do except spend awkward time with their teacher. If the things learned during this period were important to the class experience, then seniors would still remain in the school. However, they manage to leave and somehow seem to succeed in life without those few weeks of contentment.

Beginning school during mid-August would align better with schedules for colleges around the country. This allows siblings to be on similar break schedules, which makes it easier for family vacations to be planned.

Most students agree that March is the most brutal month for education. March has almost no days off, meaning five-day weeks almost every week. If school began earlier, spring break would also correlate with an earlier date. This means spring break would occur during March. However, instead of April replacing March and being a brutal month it would feel far more manageable. With the end of the school year right around the corner. Also, it gives a designated time for students to study and prepare for exams. Many students go on vacation during spring break often causing them to slack off on their AP study. If spring break occurred earlier, students would have about a month designated simply to study for APs with no excuses from vacations.

A school year that ends earlier benefits all students and could even result in higher scores on AP exams.