Making The Quarter Shorter

By Celina Macura
Every day, students walk, sometimes stumble, mindlessly to their classes. Nine classes, countless tests, and four missing pens later, all they’re left with is a number. Each quarter, they strive to improve from the last, putting all of their effort into raising their GPAs. They’ve come to familiarize themselves with report cards’ post dates, clinging to the hope that they aren’t as doomed as they fear—but this year these dates have changed.
In previous years, the first and second semester did not contain an equal number of days. First semester was 87 school days, and the second was 82, essentially making first semester one week longer than second. While this difference may seem insignificant for full-year courses, the shorter second semester affected elective courses because there was less time to cover the same amount of material.
Assistant Principal Mrs. Sharon Applebaum said, “The two semesters were not the same length in time. This was an attempt to equalize the number of days in the first half of the year and the second half of the year. Classes that were only one semester [. . .] got shortchanged in the springtime, so we wanted to make them equal.”  She also said, “It will give kids more time in the second semester to learn whatever it is they’re learning.”
For the 2014-2015 school year, first semester will have 85 instructional days and second semester will have 86.
English teacher Mrs. Rita Flaherty believes that the change will provide a more balanced school year. She said it “has more to do with being fair to the students,” as it maximizes instruction time per quarter. Not only will the change provide more instructional days for second semester courses, but it will also give her more information when it comes time to make placement recommendations for the upcoming school year. In past years, the initial deadline to make recommendations was before the first semester had ended, and many teachers did not feel prepared to make placement decisions based on first quarter grades alone.
Sophomore Bella Harnick also believes these changes will benefit students. “I think this change will have a positive impact as the work will be more equally spread out throughout the quarters.”