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January midterm break returns

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 by Max Willner-Giwerc

Much to the joy of students, Saratoga Springs High School will once again have recess for regents and midterm testing this January. The break will last from the January 26 to 29 and allow students to take Regents and midterm examinations.

Last year, the high school did not have the January Regents week off.

“Last year, administrators and department heads decided to hold regular classes during the testing week in order to recoup some of the teaching time lost to various disruptions (i.e. snow days, staff development days, etc.). It was more or less a trial to see if the additional class time was beneficial,” said social studies department head Ronald Schorpp, who was involved in the decision.

As it turned out, the loss of Regents week last January was not beneficial.

“The general consensus was that, while the additional instructional time was advantageous, the loss of the testing period was detrimental. We lost many of our benchmark assessments at the mid-way point in the year, and many students felt the stress of having to take exams while also being in regular classes,” said Schorpp.

Senior Kylie Podeswa echoed this sentiment.

“I’m very glad we get the week off. It was hard to study for midterms last year when we had classes going on at the same time, and homework for those classes on top of that,” said Podeswa.

These observations led to a discussion on the return of Regents week for this year.

“In planning for this year, the administration and department heads polled teachers and students regarding the costs/benefits of having classes rather than the testing week last year,” said Schorpp, “After much consideration, it was decided that a mid-term testing week would be restored for this year.”

“We put out three options,” said 11th grade principal Timothy Harris, “no Regents week…a couple days off and a couple days [on], or the full week, and they decided as a faculty that the full week would be best.” In fact, the decision to go back to Regents week was “pretty unanimous” among faculty members according to Harris.

Chemistry teacher Erin Bell is among the faculty members who are happy about the return of Regents week.

“I think it’s a good experience for kids to have a midterm or final in a test or Regents-like setting,” said Bell. “[It’s] good practice for the real thing, especially for the underclassmen who have never taken a Regents before. And for upperclassmen, finals in college are given after the semester and classes are over so students can focus on just their exams – hopefully our students will apply a similar focus during Regents week!”

Sophomore Gavin Burns seems more than ready to apply this focus to his first Regents week.

“Probably the days before the test I’ll study a lot harder than the rest of the year,” said Burns.

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