In August of 2016, Governor Larry Hogan announced that all public schools in Maryland will start their 2017-2018 school year after Labor Day. This was immediately met with a lot of mixed responses from students, parents and teachers. As schools are entering the new year, many have voiced their opinions on the longer summer and how it has affected them.
Going into his first year of high school, freshman Ethan Garson wanted as much time to prepare for the new year as possible. Garson preferred the longer summer because he got to do more activities with the extra time.
“I got more time to relax and get ready for school, get back into the groove [of things], spend more time with friends [and] catch up on sleep. I was able to finish my summer reading book with the extra time,” Garson said.
Giving students an extra week was not the only new change to the school calendar. Three additional half days were added this year. In event of an emergency school closing such as a snow day, January 26 (a professional day) as well as March 26 and 27 (the first two days of spring break) will be used as makeup days. Students like junior Jonah Jassie are conflicted by these new changes to the school year.
“I enjoyed having the [extra] week [of summer], but I would rather have the breaks more spread out because the school year is really long,” Jassie said.
Teachers are also affected by the new calendar. Compared to the three full days and the two half days of planning they received last year, this year teachers get one full day and five half days. English teacher Ian Matthews isn’t as concerned about this as he is about the knowledge students lost over the longer summer.
“[This new schedule] didn’t effect [lesson planning] that much. Ordinarily, I start planning later in the summer… I didn’t like [the longer summer]. I’m a pretty big proponent for a shorter summer break. There’s been quite a few studies and a growing body of research indicating that knowledge loss over summer break is pretty substantial,” Matthews said.
This new calendar brings on a lot of changes. These changes will have many implications as to how we go through the new year.