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Final decisions have been made: No 1/2 days

Tuesday, November 14th, the Arcata High bulletin announced something that made first-periods: the new finals schedule. 

Tuesday, November 14th, the Arcata High bulletin announced something that made first-periods gasp, the new finals schedule. 

This year, finals will be administered during the normally scheduled school days. 

“A great deal of time and effort was spent determining the overall bell schedule for this school year,” Arcata High Principal Ron Perry said. The bell schedule must account for the number of instructional minutes required by the state of California, and there must be two days of additional instructional minutes in case of an unexpected development that would cause school to be canceled. The required number of minutes is 64,800. This school year is structured so we have exactly (180 days instead of 182 or 185), and finals being full days are part of the reason for that. 

Perry explained the intricacies of designing a school schedule for the year. 

“When considering the schedule for this school year, there were a lot of people contributing to the overall outcome,” he said. “In the end, we could account for the required number of minutes for the allotted number of days in the school year but there was a choice that had to be made to do so.” The school day could be extended by starting earlier or going later, but that would complicate athletics and zero period. Breaks could be eliminated or lunch reduced by five minutes, which has been done in the past, or they could have finals scheduled for a full day. “The decision was made to extend finals to a full day,” he said. 

Perry feels that, though it does not conform to the traditional half days, this schedule provides an opportunity in the morning for assessments and time for instructors to collect work, allow student work time, or evaluate projects in the afternoons based upon their course objectives.

Some in the campus community has a different opinion on the matter. 

The change in the schedule will test everyone’s endurance.

Sophomore Elle Drop said she understands needing to change the schedule to have a certain amount of minutes, but still grieves the loss of half days. “I feel like after taking big final tests or doing labs or whatever the class final is, it’s nice to get out early to rest or study for the next day,” Drop said. “It’s also a nice way to ease into winter break and gives us a chance to hang out with friends before people travel.”

Teachers are not fond of the change either. 

“I wish that we were able to have the half days like we have done for the last 25 years that I’ve been here,” art and photography teacher Johanna Mauro said. “I’ll have less time to grade my students work and get them finished before I go on vacation, so I’ll likely have to do more work over the break.”

There will be no changes to the finals schedule this year. 

“The bottom line,” Perry said, “is that a decision was made after careful consideration of what would serve our campus best.”

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Ilana Maclay, Feature Section Editor
Ilana Maclay is ready to start a new year at the Pepperbox. She has written mostly feature and news articles but is ready to broaden her writing beyond what she has done in the past. Last year, she worked at The Pepperbox as a reporter, writer, and news editor. Ilana hopes to bring new ideas to the table this year and help others with whatever they might need guidance in.
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