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The Panther Press

Should Spring Break Be Longer?

Karl Borgehammer, Opinion Editor

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Spring break is approaching, a week off of school. Students look forward to a some relaxation, enjoying the lack of responsibilities sometimes accompanied by a vacation. In premise, it seems like a great idea – a break for students and staff alike. The reality is that a week feels much too short for a vacation, which is what many students use spring break for.

Looking at the district 203 calendar, students have 5 days off of school between winter break and spring break, and 2 half-days. But what if the system was altered to have a two-week long spring break and fewer days off?

Upon examination, half days seem like a fine idea. Students get enough time to get new concepts learned and assignments to begin. But as any teacher or student could tell you, the reality is very different. Students are overly excited, treating the day without much concentration with a similar attention span as the last week of school. In fact, it seems just as students enter the class, the period ends. The time provided is just enough to assign and explain the homework for the day. Teachers have a hard time controlling their students and are considered lucky if they get any work done.

In fact, several factors in half days don’t even remotely make sense. Take the Kennedy Music program. In band, students normally have 41 minutes to assemble their instruments, warm up, tune, practice, and disassemble their instruments after. Cutting the time down to around 20 minutes reduces the efficiency of the class by more than 50%. Assembling instruments and disassembling them are necessary time, and when subtracted from the total time leaves less time proportionally to practice. To get the most out of rehearsal, the music teachers must make a call to cut out tuning and/or warmups and leave time to practice, or play lower quality music for the duration of the period.

Another small factor is known as a “passing period.” Between classes, students have four minutes to get from one class to another, and visit their lockers. Students are encouraged to use the bathroom and drink water during this time so as not to interrupt class. However, a three minute passing period makes this harder and causes students to be late to class. Even if the day is shorter, students can’t move through school faster, and the extra sixty seconds lost causes students to be late, often interrupting class or slowing it down with their temporary absence.

While students do appreciate having days off, on many of these days teachers still have to work. Students could do the same, continuing to learn their material, a way of “saving” time off for a vacation during spring break. While teacher meetings may still be needed, substitute teachers are available and with a Chromebook given to every student, lessons and plans for the day can easily be distributed without much confusion.

Furthermore, a two week vacation is better than a one week vacation. It allows tourists to visit many places and attractions, as well as smaller areas. An extra week can be put to a lot of use, since a single week is usually stressful. A lot of time is spent on travel, and jetlag can make the traveling experience less than ideal for the short period of time spent in a foreign location. An extra week can allow for visits to smaller attractions, meeting family and friends in the area, revisiting favorite attractions from the first week, and immersing in the culture.

Having more than two weeks starts messing up the rest of the year’s schedule, and allows students too much time to forget what they learned in school. Overwhelming evidence suggests that having a two week long spring break is the most beneficial option.

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The student news site of Kennedy Jr. High School
Should Spring Break Be Longer?