UNcommon Sense: Springing Forward

by Supt. Corey Holland

I have never been a fan of daylight savings time. Whether falling back or springing forward, my internal clock gets disoriented and for me, when the sun goes up and down these days is less of a concern. I understand years ago there was sound reasoning behind adjusting our clocks twice a year, but now, it seems more frustrating than helpful. In any case, this year we sprung forward a lot more than I realized.

Believe it or not, we are now in the fourth nine weeks of school for the 2023-24 School Year.

There are only a few days remaining between now and the last day of school on May 23[rd]. While spring represents the beginning of the end for every school year, the fact is there are still many important things that will be taking place this nine weeks. For that reason, it is important students are present and engaged so they can finish off the year correctly.

Spring for schools is an important time of year. Not only are there a lot of activities and events for students and staff to take part in, there is a great deal of teaching and preparation taking place.

As most are aware, every spring districts are required to administer state testing district-wide. In the past, these tests occurred earlier in the spring semester which reduced the time teachers could prepare students.

This earlier window also made the last of month of school challenging as the students typically associated the end-of-state testing as the end of school. As a consequence, absenteeism increased in April and May as many families began to start summer vacations before school actually ended.

In response to many years of schools requesting the testing window be pushed back, the state has finally responded. This school year's testing window will open on April 15, and not close until May 15. This change will allow our district to move testing back to later in the year so teachers can better equip students to be successful. A very important part of their success is being present. Not only do students miss vital instruction when they are absent, it becomes even more disruptive when a student misses a state testing day and then must do a make test while other students participate in normal school-day activities.

The last nine weeks will certainly contain the normal spring time activities we all enjoy.

There will be many opportunities for students to participate in activities, educational field trips, and other important events. At the same time and more importantly, this time is vital in ensuring our students are mastering the skills and content knowledge they will need. This will better help them to reach their potential for the state tests but will also better prepare them for the challenges ahead in a new grade level. This year, let's commit to not springing so far forward that we miss the important things still to come this school year.

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