Recently, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School canceled its monthly professional study days, which normally occur on the first Thursday of every month. On a PSD, classes are only 50 minutes long and the school day ends at 11:40 a.m.
The removal of these days has had a clear effect in all Broward County Public Schools, as they have been canceled across the district.
Many students use professional study days as a time to complete assignments, meet with teachers or study for upcoming tests. They also give students a much-needed break and time to relax in the midst of a stressful week.
While MSD and other schools in Broward County have had professional study days for years, they were abruptly canceled this year due to claims that the current senior class does not have enough hours to graduate.
MSD’s website states that “Accordingly, the last day for high school seniors districtwide will be June 4, 2021. The final exam week for seniors will occur May 25-28, 2021.”
According to students4sc.org, shorter school days provide students with extra time to complete school work as well as participate in extracurriculars. For example, DECA officers in the Academy of Finance or Hospitality & Tourism classes need the extra time to catch up on their club responsibilities. Having one day a month that’s shorter than the others gives students the time to prepare and catch up in the upcoming weeks.
High school is a stressful experience for many students with an immense amount of pressure to do homework, extracurriculars, sports and volunteer work, all while finding time to spend with friends and family. The removal of these study days puts unnecessary added pressure on students, especially with advanced placement and final exams coming up in the near future.
Students also need self-care, which is hard to achieve with long schooling and studying hours. Without the support of shorter days, it can be difficult for students to balance all of their priorities and still have leisure time.
Although students have one period of study hall, it is still not enough time to complete all their schoolwork. According to a poll conducted by USNews, teens on average have more than three hours of homework every night.
Having an extra day each month designed for studying can benefit students by giving them more time to complete work and get ahead on their assignments. The overwhelmingly negative response from students over the cancellation of the study days indicates that they are necessary for the well-being of students.
This school year has been lacking consistency with many changes in the school calendar. This new abrupt change has added stress on students and teachers. Yet, another significant change to the school calendar is the last thing stressed students and teachers need, especially in an online learning environment.