District 225 considers change to collegiate schedule

Illustration by Yoon Kim

Illustration by Yoon Kim

Mary Grace Reynolds, staff reporter

District 225 sent out a school-wide survey on April 19 that polled students on their opinions of a proposed shift to the collegiate schedule starting in the 2018-2019 school year.

From this survey of 917 District 225 students, it was discovered that 64.6% of students support the change. This schedule would theoretically start school early to mid- August, move first semester finals before winter break and end school in mid-to-late May.

GBS Principal Lauren Fagel explained that the shift in schedules has been lightly discussed by the district for a while. However, now that a majority of local high schools have adopted the collegiate schedule, the topic has more permanently resurfaced.

“[The change has] been a topic of discussion for a few years but there really wasn’t any huge reason to look at it,” Fagel explained. “We kind of have to seriously look at it because now we are one of the few schools left in our conference who isn’t on it.”

Fagel expressed that she is mostly indifferent to the proposed change in the schedule considering she is comfortable and experienced with both.

“I really think that both calendars offer some advantages,” Fagel said. “When I was the principal at Mundelein, we were on the collegiate schedule. That was all I knew when I was there and it is a nice feeling to go on winter break all wrapped up [with the first semester]. I am, however, comfortable with the calendar we have.”

According to sophomore Delaney Gallagher, she fully supports the notion of implementing the collegiate schedule her senior year.

“My reasons are kind of selfish in that [it would start] my senior year and I would end up having a longer summer than most GBS students,” Gallagher explained. “Also, finals before break would be lovely considering it’s something I have always liked the idea of.”

Unlike Gallagher, junior Gracie Hambourger is not in favor of the collegiate schedule because of its direct conflicts with her involvement in Chambers Singers and her summer job as a camp counselor.

“[The Chambers] season would essentially be completely eliminated by the collegiate schedule and although we are only a group of 22 students, I think [our absence] would affect a lot more people than we realize,” Hambourger said.

According to Dr. Jim Shellard, student activities director, the collegiate calendar would help to alleviate student stress in the short term. However, more stress could arise as a result of rearranging athletic and extracurricular schedules and activities.

“I think there needs to be a lot more research done on the topic because, from a student activities perspective, we have a really intricate calendar, so changing the school calendar would change where everything lines up,” Shellard said. “One of the main reasons students support the collegiate calendar is because they see that the collegiate calendar would have exams before break but I think [to only focus on that consequence] is short-sighted.”

Hambourger and Shellard also say that they question the collegiate schedule’s abilities to prepare South students for college.

“As a junior, I’ve been on a lot of college visits and taken ACTs and SATs and I don’t think a schedule can really prepare anyone for college,” Hambourger remarked. “No part of this schedule reflects college other than school starting and ending earlier.”