Editorial: New 2016-2017 School Calendar Presents Issues

Leana Pustam and Isabel Hanewicz

As juniors, we had one more summer to enjoy before we leave high school. However, Hillsborough County has changed the school calendar for the 2016-2017 school year, cutting our summer short. The new calendar starts on August 10 and ends on May 26.

The calendar was changed in order to have winter break after exams. This schedule allows students to be done with the semester before the break. We believe that this new schedule will be better because we will be able to relax and enjoy the break without much work or the pressure of having to study for exams. This is also beneficial for seniors because senioritis affects them over the break and they tend to be lazy when studying for exams.

Even though the school year is going to start earlier, that doesn’t change the dates for school sports. Sports don’t follow the school calendar – they follow FHSAA’s calendar. Fall sports start on August 3rd, regardless of the school years. With the new calendar, sports will only have one week of practice before school starts. Practice over summer break is beneficial to players because they can play their sport without having to worry about school and classes.

Students and teachers engage in other things outside of school, such as vacations, camps, and jobs. Many students go to sleepaway camps in other states that have set start and end dates. Tons of camps end in mid-August which would conflict with the new school calendar. Vacations are also planned in the summer, and many are consistent every year. Due to the school year ending later, students and teachers will have Memorial Day off so, rather than just going away for a three-day weekend, they can leave for as long as they wish. Teachers and students also have summer jobs that they have schedules for and this change in calendar will affect that. This upcoming summer, vacations and summer jobs are going to be affected and possibly shortened. However, teachers who don’t have second jobs will get to work for two extra weeks and will get paid more.

Another big thing about this new calendar is the conflict with graduation. Graduation will be form May 15 to May 26. This is problematic for students in the IB program because AP exam makeups are during this time. Moreover, some students may be graduating without having taking an AP test. Also, IB students cannot graduate the first week because we have to wait until May 20th. However, this schedule gives IB more time during the second semester since it starts earlier but we are still let out on April 28. For both IB and traditional students, there will be less time for graduation parties and relaxing after exams.

Aside from affecting graduation, this new calendar aligns more with private school calendars. For Robinson, this is good because many students here have siblings or friends that go to private schools. For example, St. John’s school year starts on August 15 – only five days after our first day. Having this alignment would be easier on parents and students due to driving and bonding time in general outside of school.

The new school calendar will take some getting used to. Although there are many cons, overtime students could adjust to it and may believe the pros outweigh the cons. Us juniors only have one year of the schedule so it affects us negatively with our last summer, but the other aspects of it could make our senior year an easier one.