Summer vacation is already over for most students in Los Angeles County. Schools have been starting earlier and earlier in recent years, and this year all but four of the county’s 80 school districts start school in August.
While some school districts are facing higher air conditioning costs as result of starting in August, a report by the Los Angeles Times highlights three reasons why superintendents, administrators and teachers believe that an earlier start to the school year is beneficial for everyone.
1) It helps the instructional calendar
Alex Rojas, superintendent of the Bassett Unified School District says:
“Previously… students would leave for winter break, and come back in January only to face finals. The district also noticed a slew of absences in December as families left early for vacation.”
Starting earlier allows students to finish finals before the break and start a new semester when they return.
2) There’s more time to prepare for standardized tests
Students typically take Advanced Placement and standardized tests in late spring. Beforehand, students are studying, but afterwards they sometimes “tune out.”
“We had a lot going on at the same time — state testing, high school exit exams, AP exams,” said Gary Gonzales, assistant superintendent of the Alhambra Unified School District. “When we started school later, our kids had almost two months of school after those tests.”
Students and teachers have more time to prepare for tests when the school year starts earlier, and there is less time in school after tests when students may not be fully focused on school.
Many elementary schools are also aligning their start dates with those of high schools so that students with siblings in different grades can attend school at the same time.
3) It makes life easier for college-bound seniors
Starting the school year earlier gives schools the flexibility to end earlier. Many graduating seniors take summer classes at colleges that typically begin in June. An earlier end to the school year makes it easier for these students to be present both at the end of school and the beginning of summer classes.
Summer break is coming to a close sooner than most parents and students anticipated, but the benefits seem worth it.
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