Early start to winter break changes finals for teachers, students

Gnally Boukar, Copy Editor

The School Board approved Superintendent Dr.  Jeff Rippe’s proposal to amend the calendar which changes Dec. 21-22 to no school for staff and students. 

According to Principal Kevin Rohlfs, the Bellevue West administration was notified of the decision in the prior to the school board meeting. Rohlfs said the decision to amend the calendar was not directly related to COVID-19. However, the district anticipated a surge of cases from Thanksgiving gatherings which did factor in the decision to propose an amendment. 

“It was a thank you to the staff, certified, classified and our students for everything they have done to keep us moving forward this semester,” Rohlfs said in an email.

This change consequently cancelled finals days and left teachers scrambling. Some teachers will continue on with their final, but with less review time or a shorter test. Other teachers have cancelled their finals entirely, replacing them with longer projects or chapter tests. 

Spanish teacher Jodi Grice said she plans on shortening the final for a few classes, as they have not finished the current unit. 

French teacher Deb Richardson said she thought of options to a final that still showed what students learned this semester. 

“I don’t know if I am going to do a big final,” Richardson said. “I’m actually thinking what I might do is have a big sort-of Pictionary competition and grade them on participation and how much vocabulary they know.” 

Chemistry teacher Nicole Menard said she plans on giving a final in Advanced and AP chemistry. She said she will make the test available for students who are quarantined as well through Classkick, freezing the grade for students who opt out. 

Menard said she also provided opportunities for extra credit through the semester, and offers extra credit for the final review. 

The school change has not been an issue for Menard. She said it has been more impactful for students because they lost a weekend to study. 

“Cancelling school affected the students more than me,” Menard said. “The students missed out on additional feedback through a unit test before the final.”