By Mason Pendleton
For many, school can be a stressful time for students. In an article by Forbes, schools in 2018 have become much more stressful from major things like school shootings to the most simple problems like fad changes. According to Forbes, by breaking up a school year throughout it allows for less mental strain and enables many “at-risk” students to come back from the edge more frequently. This is why the Clark Pleasant School District tries to break it up throughout the year. It’s a good way for students to have an opportunity to catch up and breathe throughout the year versus struggling through until the end.
Superintendent Patrick Spray gives a brief description of the current Whiteland schedule.
“The balanced calendar, locally, has to do with trying to balance out some of our breaks so we take a look at a 2 week fall break, 2 weeks at Christmas break and then 2 weeks in the spring break,” Spray said.
The Center Grove community schools and Franklin community schools schedule their semesters the same way as Whiteland. This schedule helps student retain all the information that has been given to them over the year.
Whiteland math teacher Jordan McClain agrees this is the case.
“I feel like it does a much better job of balancing time out of the year,” McClain said. “Instead of one long major break…I feel we all need a break here and there.”
It wasn’t just the school board that decided breaking up the school year was the best way to go about the 180 day school session. According to Dr. Spray, last summer in 2018 the Clark Pleasant School District sent out an email that contained a survey that asked what parents and staff felt was the best way to form the schedule for this school year. The Whiteland district also gave new alternatives in 2018 which consisted of either the balanced calendar, a modified balance, which is one week of fall break and two weeks of spring and winter break, or a return back to traditional calendar. However, according to this survey, no change was necessary. Out of 1,859 responses, 73.6 percent of parents and 16.6 percent staff enjoy the balanced calendar. Perspectives also conducted its own survey with similar results, with 63.4 percent of 164 students all agreeing that the balanced calendar was the way to go.
Whiteland senior Christian Clancy was among the students that voted in favor of the current calendar.
“I think the balanced calendar works best for students because many of us seem to be burnt out by the time these longer breaks come along. They are very gratifying as they are a milestone of the school year and show that our hard work the past weeks have paid off,” Clancy said.
Breaks are not just for remediation. The breaks allow teachers and students more time to relax in between the stressful school year. In an article from the Center of Educational Improvement, it states that allowing a longer break allows for a more refreshed outlook on school as a whole when students return.
According to the article, “At-risk” students are less likely to drop out with better remediation opportunities over break and with a better mental outlook on school as a whole.
A balanced calendar is overall a better system to allow for mental recuperation and reduce stress levels.