Why We Should Switch to a Semester and 4-1-4 System

Madeline Pugh, Reporter

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What City High needs right now is a January term where students would be able to take fantastic, new, enriching classes or go on awesome field trips through a 4-1-4 semester system.

The ICCSD runs on a three trimester school year with a three month summer, five day Thanksgiving break, two week winter break, and one week spring break. This schedule matches up to gaps in the school year poorly, causing winter break to fall awkwardly in the middle of the second trimester. Students are often tested over material learned before break soon after they return. This is a challenge for most students and is likely to take a toll on their grades. A 4-1-4 system would allow students two four month long semesters and a month long January term, which would alleviate the aforementioned problem.

The January term of the 4-1-4 system also affords students the opportunity to create a passion project or take an interesting specialty class that teachers wouldn’t be able to teach normally. This time would also allow struggling students to receive extra help and catch up on their work. The world languages department would have the opportunity to take trips during this time instead of taking time out of the regular school year.

A few of the City High guidance counselors have long been advocates for the change.

“I gave a lot of input, whether they wanted it or not. I do feel strongly about this; I think there would be great advantages in doing a semester system,” guidance counselor Tim Carey said.

The downsides of switching to a different schedule would be the practicality and the annoyance of having to switch around curriculum from a 12 week to a 18 week basis and having to start earlier in the summer.

“It’s the way it’s always been done. There is some person power required to get things different,” Carey said.

Another downside is that students wouldn’t be able to take as many electives. To compensate, City High could offer shorter, quarter-long classes throughout the year and give students the option to go the full semester. The option of a passion project or a specialty class during the January term would also eliminate the con of less availability and class choices.

A handful of high schools around the country have either already switched to this system or are currently exploring the idea.

“I love the idea. I think that that is a brilliant thought pattern to get maybe the best of both worlds,” Carey said.