I continue to be made aware of community concerns regarding student’s stress levels and social and emotional needs from parents, community leaders, district employees and students. Yet I hear little regarding the calendar start date as the cause. Subjects including marijuana and drug use, social media and gaming abuse, pressure to get into “quality” universities deemed worthy to attend, how many AP’s are enough, and students vaping on campus, are some of the biggest stressors I hear about. The calendar change as a stress reducer is a mainstream solution to today’s current issues, without proven results, that could potentially add more stress leading to the holidays than it solves.
I’ve heard positive comments about summer’s end and the “soft start” school year. Athletics and practices have begun, teachers had a week of training, and students had the benefit of being on campus getting materials, books, identification, etc. Some families took one last vacation, and many took advantage of the “make up” Waverider days at Thurston based on the number of cars that lined Park last Friday. The District posted exciting learning opportunities teachers experienced without disrupting student learning. “Welcome Back” lunches hosted by PTA’s welcomed teachers and staff. When school began, teachers and students hit the ground running, relaxed and ready to make it a great year.
This soft start seems like great solutions to ease into the school year. A solution for the AP concerns? A reverse classroom option perhaps. Contract the AP teachers similarly to the GATE teachers, club teachers, and athletics that have stipends to their contracts. Utilize technology.
Certainly, ending the school year earlier requires our board to find alternatives to status quo solutions. Think outside the box like the famous quote many love: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The ones who sees things differently. They’re not fond of rules and no respect for status quo. They can change things. The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Don’t we want to be the district that changes things? We should. We do. It’s one of the reasons we live here and hired the best of the best. To keep things fresh and forward thinking. The board shouldn’t vote for the status quo. Step back and be genius and a round peg in a square hole.
Sheri Morgan, Laguna Beach