The Broward County school calendar of the 2020-2021 school year, not including testing dates, has been changed by the district. Photo courtesy of Rayne Welser
This month, Broward County Public Schools announced that seniors of Broward County High Schools with A/B block schedules must now stay in school till June 4. Additionally, Professional Study Days were canceled for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year.
Due to the fact that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has PSDs, as well as an A/B block schedule, these changes will impact both the faculty and students. This news will affect seniors’ future plans outside of high school as they now have to stay in school a week longer. Besides, all students will no longer have PSDs at MSD for the remainder of the year.
Originally, seniors would be taking their final exams from May 25 to May 28, and their last day of school would have been May 28, which is a week earlier than the release of the rest of the student body. This was done so that schools could have more time to certify all of their seniors, ensuring that they have met all their graduation requirements to graduate. This process takes a while and gives seniors the chance to leave school early and begin their future plans.
However, when the state’s calculation of hours was done this year, it was determined some schools’ seniors did not have enough instructional hours to graduate. This was caused by the implementation of the A/B block schedule that MSD has followed since the 2017-2018 school year, where they have a study hall period that doesn’t count as instructional time.
This problem, although being an issue since the start of using the A/B block schedule, was only discovered this year by the state. Therefore, it did not affect seniors of previous graduating classes.
BCPS is responsible for approving all schedule and policy changes in Broward County. On Feb. 26, the district decided that the end date for the seniors had to be extended and that the rest of the PSDs had to be canceled in order to meet the number of hours the seniors needed to graduate.
“The school board is ultimately the governing body for school operational decisions, and those are decisions that impact every school in the district,” MSD Principal Michelle Kefford said.
The original end date for the seniors’ last day of school has since been changed to June 4, however the test dates for seniors staying the same. During the week of June 1 through 4, when seniors would have had no school, there will be workshops, seminars and activities to make up their needed instructional hours.
Now that the seniors must stay an extra week, this will affect a lot of their future plans, like early admissions in college, starting jobs or starting their gap year.
“Most seniors have already got accepted into their colleges so there’s no point in making us go even longer,” senior Corey Baekowski said. “This will affect me over the summer because I will not be able to go away [to college] as soon as possible.”
Additionally, there will no longer be PSDs for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year. This means that the PSDs originally scheduled on Mar 4, April 1 and April 29 will now be full days.
Typically, students use these days to study for tests, catch up on homework or get ahead in classes.
“It is so unfair [that] the school [took] away PSDs,” senior Alex Betancourt said. “It will affect my study time because now I won’t have [extra] time to study because I have to go to work to support my family.”
It is unknown whether this will affect next year’s school schedule. However, the possibility of change is expected, considering instructional hours for the graduating class of 2022 will be under the amount needed like this year’s seniors.
“We anticipate these changes will carry throughout subsequent school years and we do not yet have any information from the district with regard to Professional Study Days for next year or if it will at all impact the A/B schedule,” Kefford said.
Updates on schedule changes can be found on MSD’s official website.