Opinion: The Semester Should End Now


Media by Mason Kellerman (he/him)

With the end of first semester pushed back until after Winter Break, students and staff are not able to relax and recharge over the break. I think students should get to enter 2022 without the unnecessary stress of final exams and final projects.

It’s the final stretch before winter break. Teachers are cramming in last-minute lessons and students are studying for big tests. 

But, when I leave school on Tuesday, Dec. 21 for break, I will not have taken a final. My grades won’t be finalized for the semester, and when I come back on Monday, Jan. 3, I will have two weeks left of first semester to complete.

According to an article by KSDK, due to a law signed on July 11, 2019 by Governor Mike Parson, and put into place the following year, the start date of Missouri public schools is now fourteen days before the first Monday in September, extending our semester into January to make up for the lost days at the beginning of the year. 

This law was created in hopes of increasing Missouri’s tourism by giving families an extra week of summer vacation. 

It feels extremely unnatural for me to end the semester in the middle of January. For my whole life up until sophomore year, I have known the first semester to end as I leave for Winter Break. I understand RSD has to start the school year later than usual, but I still feel ending the semester after break has many negative effects. 

I am always ready for a change in my schedule after the holidays. After four months of the same routine every single day, Winter Break was always the perfect divider between the two semesters. 

It is also a nuisance for the eight seniors who are graduating a semester early, one of those being Giselle Bauer. She said she is disappointed she will have to come back after the break for two more weeks before she is able to graduate. 

“It has always been rewarding to go on Winter Break and know that you have completed a semester and you’re done,” Bauer said. “It’s frustrating that I have to come back after break because you think you’re done and you’re not.”   

Instead of being able to completely recharge and reset, I will still have final exams and end-of-semester work looming over me throughout Winter Break, which defeats the purpose of a break at all. 

Liberty Public School District in Kansas City, Missouri has found a way to make this work. According to the district’s calendar, they started school on Tuesday, Aug. 24. But, they are still ending their semester on Tuesday, Dec. 21. So, it is possible to start the year in accordance with the law, but still end the first semester before break. 

If RSD eliminated all late start days and early release days in the first semester, I think we could end the semester before break. Or, if it is necessary, we could go to school the whole week before Christmas and end school on Friday, Dec. 24. 

I feel the RSD Board of Education would benefit from trying to find a better solution, since other districts have found a way to make this work.