Due to a state law, the school year is not allowed to start before Aug. 25, causing end of the semester exams to fall after Christmas break for students on a block schedule. The problem is, no one wants to study over break. The point of a break is for both students and teachers to relax and refresh, not agonize over their end of the semester exams or the outcome of their final grade.
The best thing for the students would be to take exams before Christmas break, so that all of the learned material is still fresh in their minds, eliminating the possibility of students forgetting a lot of what they learned during their two weeks out of school. To do that, however, the state would have to change the law to allow the school year to start earlier. The reason the law is in place is to increase tourism income in August, but we don’t see a difference between vacationing in May and vacationing in August. Even though studies done by tourism companies disagree, both months are warm and there would be more of a benefit to starting the school year earlier— exams before Christmas break.
The other option would be to start the school year even later, such as beginning in early September, giving students more time to learn and study with their teachers after the break. Although that extra time would be helpful, the most beneficial thing for students would be to be able to take their exams with 90 days of material fresh in their minds. The problem with this is that state law says that school cannot end later than June 10. This gives school systems virtually no choice in deciding what is best for their students, meaning that no matter how much of a hassle it is to study for finals over break, Chatham County can’t change that to benefit our schools.
We understand that Northwood’s first semester test grades are good, and we can also understand that having two weeks in which students could study wouldn’t be such a bad thing either, except we’re sure that most students won’t spend much time studying over their break. And again, as lazy teenagers, we need to point out that the point of a break is to take a break from school and spend time enjoying the holidays and relaxing with our families, not looking over our notes and re-reading our study guides.