Editorial: Skip A Day, Miss a Day?

Posted on October 17, 2011

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Editorial|Frank Vitale

Graphic by Rachel Heller

Graphic | Rachel Heller

Winter hasn’t even started, and remarkably, school has already been cancelled for a day due to weather.  Some of us were elated that we, not even a month into school, were getting a break.  Others, namely AP teachers and students, were quite distraught.
Their concern: because of the missed day, AP classes lost crucial class time.  The students and teachers are concerned, and rightfully so, that it will be more difficult to cover all of the required content before the AP tests in early May.
However, many of these students and teachers have channeled their concerns in the wrong direction.  A large number of those affected blame the day-rotational cycle for the lost class time.
Students who miss class because of the lost day feel that they deserve to make up that class on the next school day, regardless of what the rotational schedule would have been.  Students who did not miss class oppose this, as it would take away class time of their own.  For many students, conflict can arise when they have AP classes on both days of the cycle.
When days are added to the school year to make up for cancellations, the very end of the school year is extended.  This adds days to the schedule after the AP exams, which come as no help to AP students.  So unless the school begins to add school days on the weekends or cancel teacher in-service days, adding days to the schedule does not help the AP student.
Amidst all of this concern and the numerous complaints in the halls and classrooms of the school, it is evident that many AP students have lost sight of the proverbial “big picture.”
It does not matter what the policy is regarding the day-rotational cycle.  Overall, a missed day is a missed day, and whether you have class or not, you are one day closer to the AP exam.  The complaints are misguided concerns about the upcoming test, and not valid problems with existing policy.
Instead of fretting over lost days, AP students should take a different, more proactive approach to the situation.  A day when school is cancelled is a great time to review previous content, to complete the next class’ homework, and to begin looking at future lessons.  It can also be a good day, weather permitting, to meet with other students in the class to do a group review session or to work on a project.
In other words, make the most of the free day to study, unwind a bit, and prepare yourself for the coming classes.  That way, a missed day of classes doesn’t become a lost day for review and studying.

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Posted in: Commentary