By Rachael Mintz
The current Clark County School District’s nine-month school calendar has first semester beginning the last week of August and concluding in the third week of January and second semester follows, concluding in early June. This schedule is not only ineffective but also inconvenient for teachers and especially students.
It seems that CCSD only attempts to make learning more difficult for students. With a schedule like this, students learning is interrupted by a two week break for Christmas, New Years, and other holiday festivities. Upon returning to school, students are expected to have remembered everything that they were taught before break because mid-term exams will help determine their semester grade. No pressure or anything kids. Just make sure you are hunkering down over all of your review guides while your family is having a beautiful Christmas dinner to make sure you get that A.
If our school schedule resembled that of a college schedule, maybe midterms would be a better assessment of what students know. In college, the semester begins at the end of August and ends prior to winter break, meaning that exams are taken before the holiday season. The second semester begins upon arrival back to school and ends in early to mid-May. Not only does this help to improve grades, but it also gives the students more of an incentive to do well. Rather than having to stress about their exams over their break, they are then able to relax and enjoy their hard earned time off.
The holidays are not the only seasonal conflict students face. The weather toward the end of the year, especially being in the middle of the desert like Las Vegas, also increases student suffering. When students are still in school at the end of May and the beginning of June, it becomes extremely difficult to focus when it is 100 degrees outside. Fatigue rises, and it becomes more of a struggle every day to leave your air-conditioned, comfortable home to come to school.
Not only is the schedule strenuous to the students, but also to the teachers. Attempting to teach new material right before break is pointless and a waste of their time because, let’s face it, no one is going to remember any of that once the bell rings on Friday giving them freedom for two weeks.
Once again, second semester has the same issue. With the weather weighing on everyone, it becomes challenging to even get to school on a daily basis. Student attendance decreases and grades start to suffer.
The solution to the problem is quite simple: adjust the school calendar for the semesters to start and end earlier. With an elementary change like this, grades will be more reflective of student achievement, and students and teachers will benefit from it, making everyone happier.