Calendar causes conflict for students, teachers


Olivia White

The drawing above symbolizes how students and staff are balancing academics and holidays as finals come closer, and academics are being placed above holidays and family time.

Esmeralda Flores, Staff Writer

The first day of winter break this year will be Dec. 24, with a 3-hour early dismissal the 23rd. Classes will then resume Jan. 6, 2015. There seems to be mixed feelings from staff and students on the placement of winter break as well as fall finals, which will begin Friday, Dec. 19, meaning that finals days will have a weekend in between them.

There is a calendar committee with parents, staff members, as well as staff from the central office that are on it. They meet every year to set up the calendar for the following year. Tom Mitchell, the Human Resources Director oversees the whole process the calendar committee goes through. They begin by proposing the calendar at a board meeting, then the board acts on it and it is adopted for the upcoming year.

The main goal of the calendar committee is to have equal semesters. “From our level we try to keep the semesters as even as possible,” principal Brent Riessen said.  “We don’t want first semester class to be eight days different then the second semester class, or vice versa.”

There does seem to be some discontent feelings on where winter break and finals fall. “I don’t like how finals are spread apart from Friday and then Monday and Tuesday because that jumbles it all up,” junior Alisha Giesselmann said. “Our plans for Christmas this year are also rushed, because we spend every single Christmas Eve in Nebraska, so we are not able to spend as much time with our family as we would like this year.”

Family and consumer science teacher Jennifer Smith also notes how the break placements affects her time with her family. “It is kind of close to Christmas, which means that I won’t be able to have time to prepare for Christmas, which isn’t great,” Smith said. “But if it means we have the same amount in the fall as in the spring, then I am willing to go that late. That way I won’t have to take away from my fall classes.”

Math teacher Rich Gradoville has experienced prior years where finals began after winter break as well as having finals before winter break.  “Originally I didn’t think that I would care for having semester test before break, but after doing it for about three years I think it has gone really nicely,” Gradoville said. “The thing I really like about it is that students don’t have to worry about tests and projects over break.”

Students also seem to have a common opinion as Gradoville, such as senior Jorjia Vawter. “I don’t care as long as we get our finals done before break,” Vawter said. “It’s not meant to be a religious thing, it just needs to be near the holiday since it is a winter break.”