District considers implementation of final exams before winter break


Graphic by Rachel Nwia / Source: Associate Principal Cameron Muir

Molly Stryker, staff reporter

District 225 is formally discussing a school calendar change that would move final exams to before winter break as early as the 2018-2019 school year, according to Superintendent Dr. Mike Riggle.

According to Dr. Lara Cummings, assistant principal for student services,  the administration is considering moving finals because it could benefit students in a number of ways.

“[Winter break] is not downtime,” Cummings said. “It’s not re-energizing [or] recharging because most students […] are thinking about their academics [by] getting that final paper done or starting to study for a final.”

However, there are many factors the district needs to consider before making the change, according to Principal Lauren Fagel. There are conflicting events with standards and regulations regarding the school calendar.

“We have some really hard and fast things that we have to do,” Fagel said. “We have a minimum number of days of school [and] number of hours per day [that] have to be followed.”

Dean Ronald Bean says the district knows changing the calendar would mean starting and ending the school year earlier to ensure both semesters have the same number of days.

“The first thing we would have to look at is when we would come back to school,” Bean said. “So, if we were still going to try to balance out the number of days in each semester, I think one of the effects would be when we come back in August.”

Riggle says that the calendar would also change the traditions of South’s holiday celebrations. This calendar shift mean they may no longer be a possibility.

“[For example], the choir program at South [has] always had this tradition [of] the winter assembly [and caroling] at Hackney’s,” Riggle said. “[If we give] final exams in December, that will not be possible [because] students are expected to prepare properly for something worth 20 percent of their grade.”

The school calendar cannot be changed overnight, Riggle says. The district plans school calendars two years in advance, so it will take time to pull the numerous pieces together.

“It could happen [the] 2018-2019 [school year], but that may be a little fast,” Riggle said. “A more reasonable timeframe may be 2019-2020 [or] 2018-2019 the earliest.”

However, with everything in mind, Bean said the school and district are working towards a beneficial decision for the many people that would be impacted.

“The biggest part is that when we look at calendars, […] it’s our responsibility to make sure that we are [considering] the impact those changes would have not only on [GBS], but on the Glenview community,” Bean said.