A one-week delay in the upcoming school year may offer some relief to students towards the end of the year. Originally scheduled for students to begin attendance on Aug. 7, the calendar was changed, providing for one extra week of summer.
This shift may also lead to the following summer to begin one week later, and many aspects of the academic schedule may shift along with it.
“We were a high-performing district,” Principal Rick Fleming said. “Because of that we could pick out our start date a lot sooner.”
State law requires that public schools not begin more than 10 days before Labor Day unless a district is granted the high-performing status based on academic excellence along with compliance with other state laws. But if Brevard Public Schools opts to ignore Florida’s class-size amendment in an attempt to balance its budget, it will lose the ability to set its own schedule.
This possibility has created concerns over when midterm exams will be taken in relation to Winter Break. The majority of public school students throughout Florida take their first-semester exams after they return from Winter Break, usually resulting in lower scores.
This year, Brevard’s semester exams will be taken before the holiday break but that will change if the school year starts even later next year.
Despite the negative impact on semester exams, the schedule change could have an upside for end-of-the-year testing.
With Advanced Placement national exams currently occurring on the same day as both seventh-period final exams and senior graduation, this shift in the schedule could provide a space between end-of-year events that could make exam season easier for students.
“I don’t like losing the week worth of prep time for AP exams,” Fleming said. “But the spacing may be helpful.”
AP Human Geography teacher Brook Owen-Thomas said reducing testing conflicts is preferable to the current schedule.
“I would rather lose a week of review,” she said. “At least for next year, when I have so many seniors.”
Seniors taking AP Human Geography, in particular, may appreciate the shift, as the exam for the course usually falls on the same day as their graduation.
“It’s hard for seniors. It depends on how badly they want the college credit,” O.T. said. “Passing could save them about $15,o00 at a public school.”
Recent West Shore graduate Caitlyn Donovan expressed displeasure towards the conflicting schedule.
“I failed. No doubt about it,” Donovan said. “It didn’t help that it was on graduation day, because I couldn’t focus at all.”
Junior Erich Heinricher, who will be taking AP Human Geography as a senior next year, expressed relief about the change.
“It’s nice that I won’t have to be stressed on the day of my high school graduation,” Heinricher said. “I’m glad that I’ll be able to sleep in or go to the beach beforehand, instead of taking an exam.”
Underclassmen taking finals may also benefit, as they will have more time after their AP exams to study for their finals.
“I think that if there’s a week between AP exams and finals, it will alleviate stress for a lot of students,” sophomore Emma Kalvin said. “We’ll have time to study for non-AP finals. I feel like it’s a good development.”