New exam schedule raises concerns from staff and students


Three half days. Six exams. Two exams per day.

This is the tried and true exam schedule that FHC has come back to year after year. This year, however, that schedule is changing.

Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2018, will be a full day of school. Students will arrive to take their first two exams and then proceed to shortened, 20-minute periods of their regular classes. The following Thursday and Friday, however, will remain half days.

Principal Steve Passinault says that these changes were made to balance district-wide high school calendars with the elementary schools. It was not a decision that was made by FHC administrators; the changes are across all three high schools.

“It was negotiated with the teachers’ union to do it this way,” Passinault said. “Our school calendar in the district is always negotiated by the teachers’ union and the administration.”

The process for creating this new schedule was designed to take in as many peoples’ opinions as possible, and representatives from each building voting on the agreement.

First, the representatives met in order to discuss the new agreement negotiated by the teachers’ union. After this, the group proposed ideas and voted on the draft as a whole. Because the group was in support of the idea, it was ratified and put into action.

Passinault says that he doesn’t think this change will negatively impact students, but senior Jayla Williams disagrees.

“I think it’s stupid,” Jayla said. “I don’t like it. I think that after exams, your brain is not really with it. I like the old exam schedule better.”

Freshman Leila Gonzalez agrees with Jayla and says that the new schedule “doesn’t seem logical” and may affect her grades.

“I feel like having a full day after two exams is kind of stressful,” Leila said. “If you were to study [during the classes], it wouldn’t really be logical because it’s only twenty-minute increments. I think it might affect how well I do [on exams].”

This new schedule, which will also be taking place at Forest Hills Northern and Eastern, has the potential to affect teachers as well.

“Teachers typically have the half days to grade, and the new schedule gives them one less half day to grade, which is the only negative that I see,” Passinault said.

Although this could affect history teacher Steve Labenz, he is more worried about students. Labenz, who is not in favor of the new changes, has concerns about how students will be affected by the changes.

“I don’t like [the new exam schedule],” Labenz said.  “It doesn’t make any sense. I just don’t know if it’s really the best thing for kids.”

The new schedule will run during midterms, as well as finals, during the 2018/19 school year; however, if there is considerable negative feedback, Passinault says changes could be made.

“The discussion would have to go back to the negotiations with the teachers’ union and the central office staff,” Passinault said.

Despite the surrounding negativity, there is still hope. Passinault made it clear that the concerns of parents and students at FHC are valued and will be taken into consideration for the next school year.

“I think that parents’ and students’ input is important and is listened to,” Passinault said. “I’m sure they will evaluate it after this year and decide if this is the way to go in the future.”