Breaks from school need to be spread out


Photo by Sam Koskie

The 2018-2019 MCPS school calendar. Though students had a longer summer break, they got a shorter spring break as a result. Photo by Sam Koskie

When students come back to school after summer vacation, one of the first questions to come up is “When’s our next day off?” The school calendar is a hotly debated topic in Montgomery County Schools and is constantly changing every year. This year there has been a lot of controversy over the amount of days students get off for holiday breaks.

The school year started out pretty calm for students, with the first three weeks of school having one day off each week, but as you look further into the school year, students realized that spring break, one of the most highly anticipated days off of the year, was cut shorter than previous years. As opposed to the normal eight days in the past, Spring Break is only six days this year and is much later in the year due to the timing of Easter.

Spring break is a great time for students to relax and enjoy the holiday if they’re celebrating. It’s one of the longest periods of time in the school year that students are out of school, and they love to relish every moment of it. Cutting spring break short and not adding any extra days off as compensation isn’t good for students overall. Travel plans have to be cut short, and students are spending more time stressing out in the classroom.

Another issue with the school calendar that people have is that the breaks and early dismissals aren’t spread out very well. Students get no days off in the month of October and instead get one early dismissal day at the beginning of the month.
Students have no days off from school between September 19 and November 6. That’s a long time of uninterrupted school. But then for some reason we have a day off and four early release days in November. Why couldn’t they have spread out our days off in a way that makes more sense? The same thing happens later in the school year. From February 18 to April 3, we have no full days off from school. Students need time off.

More time off has been proven to benefit students. Finland, a country with one of the best education systems in the world, has multiple 10-15 minute breaks a day. Yes we have lunch, but that’s one 40 minute break and then we have 135 minutes of uninterrupted classes. If Finland can have these breaks daily, why can’t we have more breaks during the month?

Montgomery County is such a great school system, but while it’s great to have a longer summer and a shorter school year, the county should have student’s interests more in mind when creating these schedules. MCPS always talks about wanting to reduce the stress of students, and the solution is staring them right in the face. Fix the calendar.