Proposed schedule that would end first semester before winter break seems to be popular

February 6, 2010 — by Saniha Shankar

In recent years, Monta Vista, Lynbrook, Terra Linda, Pioneer, Leland High and other nearby schools have all decided to end their first semester before winter break. Now after years of complaints from students and parents alike, it looks as if the idea has become more of a possibility here, though many hurdles remain before Saratoga and Los Gatos High Schools can make this switch.

“There has been less momentum in the past, but Saratoga is becoming more dramatically involved as more and more schools move to this new schedule,” said assistant principal Brian Safine. “It makes it seem more practical.”

A proposed schedule was recently posted as a survey to collect opinions from parents, teachers and underclassmen. The possible schedule would allow students to start a week earlier and take finals before break and end in late May or early June. Since the schedule for the 2010-11 school year is already finalized, any possible changes would occur for the 2011-12 year, Safine said.

Many underclassmen say they would support the change.

“I think it’s a good idea because I feel so much stress during break to study, but I never actually study, so I end up forgetting everything,” said sophomore Priyanka Arunkumar. “Plus, after break it is really hard to go back to studying so it would be a lot easier to just take finals before break.”

Safine said surveys have been put out for parents and teachers to allow input over the possible change. Most parents and teachers seem to be in favor of the new finals schedule. Teachers are in favor with a ratio of almost 2 to 1, according to Safine. Many teachers of advanced placement classes favor the proposed schedule because it would allow for more time before the AP tests.

Supporters say a new schedule would allow families to take their vacation more peacefully without having to worry about the upcoming stress of finals. However, before any changes are made, Los Gatos High as well as the local middle school and elementary schools and the district committee would have to agree to start and end their years. Other difficulties include the possibility of an unbalanced schedule between semesters—something that can make teaching a semester class such as government or economics more difficult.

Even so, principal Jeff Anderson said ending school before winter break would be a good way “to show to our students that we want them to go out and actually enjoy their break.”