Faculty endorses switch to semesters

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Faculty endorses switch to semesters

Berk Oto

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The U-High faculty recommended to the administration that the quarter system be replaced with semesters. The endorsement vote took place after a presentation at the faculty meeting Nov. 7.

The faculty has discussed two semester calendar options. One would have semesters of different lengths with the first ending at winter break in December. The other would have terms of nearly equal lengths with the first spanning winter break to end in January.

The latter option appeals to some faculty members because both semesters would be equal in length. Some members believed the September to December option would be better for student stress levels.

In 2006, David Magill, Lab Schools director at the time, struck down a decision made by the faculty to implement a semester system after students voted unanimously against the plan.

Since then, there have been several changes in administration, and with them, another evaluation of semesters.

“Moving to a semester system would affect the school’s pace positively,” Principal Stephanie Weber said.

Ms. Weber said the change could affect the pace of shorter terms such as winter quarter.

“It is a very short period of time in which teachers are trying to have enough material to come up with a grade,” she said.

Other faculty members shared this sentiment.

“You’re under pressure to have enough things graded in number to create midterm comments,” said English department head Mark Krewatch, another supporter of the new system.

Many students that were asked about their feelings toward a semester system with the first semester ending in January were against it due to concerns that they would be pressured to do homework over winter break.

“The policy is that there is no homework that will be assigned over winter break, and that policy will not change,” Ms. Weber said in response to the student concern.

Even though the faculty had a unanimous opinion for the new system, some expressed support for student involvement.

“I think the role of student voice is very important,” Sunny Neater, fine arts department head, said. “I would like to see more student involvement in everything.”

In order to incorporate student voice, this week Student Council will host two town halls with members of the faculty and administration Nov. 13 and 14.

“Student opinion has not been really included, and it needs to be included before this large decision,” All-School President Shiva Menta said.

Shiva said he hopes to educate students about possible changes coming to the school next year, as well as collect student views to share with the administration before a final decision.