Scheduling stress into the school year

How the one week gap between the end of the quarter and spring break causes students additional stress


Courtesy of

The schedule for the 2018-2019 FCPS school year.

Aafreen Ali, Staff Writer

The end of the quarter is stressful. The pressure of turning in so many final pieces of work to improve grades last minute takes a toll on students. On top of that, some students find it stressful when they are not able to view their grades and ensure that their hard work and cramming were not wasted. Recently, it was the end of third quarter, and students were finished with frantic submissions and anxious to start the new and final quarter with a fresh start.

On Monday, April 8, the new quarter started. However, it is the week before break, so naturally, this was also a stressful week for many. Freshmen also have robot projects due, which, as many know, doubles the amount of stress that students are under. Teachers in all grades overload students with homework and tests to complete before break begins so that working is not necessary over break. While these are admirable intentions, students may often buckle under the strain of having so much work in two consecutive weeks.

This is where we call into question not the teaching methods of the educators, but the scheduling of the school year. Was the idea to have a week between the end of the quarter and spring break entirely sound? Though scheduling a school is difficult and requires the inclusion of many factors, the plan for this school year should have included one more factor: the well-being of students.

As a STEM school with a reputation for advanced courses and workload, Jefferson is a place where a student could easily succumb to the pressure of stress. Stress is a universal concept for all high school students, but particularly for Jefferson students. The school recognizes this and places a heavy emphasis on student destressing through TJ Minds Matter, morning meditation moments, and enjoyable 8th period specials.

This same recognition and remediation of stress should be applied while scheduling the 2019-2020 school year. The challenges of students who find those two weeks particularly stressful would be acknowledged in this way. A possible solution would be to model the 2019-2020 FCPS school year after the 2016-2017 year, in which the third quarter ended on a Friday and was followed by spring break the next week. This promise of a vacation from school would help many students lower the amounts of stress they feel from the increased workload from the last week of the quarter.