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Why is graduation the day before final exams?

Original post made by Virgin, Southgate, on May 10, 2014

Does it make any sense that baccalaureate is the Sunday of final exam week and the graduation ceremony is Wednesday, while the last day of final exams and last day of school is Thursday? Seniors have final exams the week before but underclassmen who are siblings of seniors will lose study time while attending their sibling's baccalaureate and graduation ceremony during finals week. Why would a school that emphasizes academics want to stress out the siblings?

Comments (16)

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Posted by parent
a resident of Community Center
on May 11, 2014 at 10:09 am

Virgin,

It would be nice if the calendar managers would think of everything.

Time for an app which can take everything into consideration, but with a new calendar you'll have these quirks.

Good luck and maybe the kids can take their books with them to the events.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 11, 2014 at 10:23 am

It probably has to do with the teacher's union somehow.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm

parent,

"It probably has to do with the teacher's union somehow."

Well, it's been awhile now since the calendar debates but I recall a compromise solution which many people tried to work on (to have finals before Christmas, and to have a later school start) but it was not supported by the Union due to a rejection from teachers who had issues related to electives in English. Other departments were good to go with a compromise but a teacher veto was out there somewhere.

Don't kid yourself that calendar is probably mostly about teacher schedules.


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Posted by teacher p
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 11, 2014 at 3:33 pm

I've taught at Paly for over 10 years. Graduation has always been on a Wednesday since I've taught here. The reason it's not on Thursday (the last day for students)? Because middle school promotion ceremonies are held on Thursdays. To avoid conflicts between end-of-year ceremonies at the middle and high schools, the events are held on separate days.


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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2014 at 7:36 pm

High school grades affect college acceptances while middle school grades have no impact. Paly's graduation should be the last day of school. Is Diorio up to making changes or just keeping the seat warm? We need a leader, not a follower.


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Posted by teacher p
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 11, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Hello, Paly Parent

There have been no changes made to the high school graduation day of the week (Wednesday) at either Paly or Gunn for at least 15 years. However, the principal of a school can't decide on her/his own what day to hold graduation, especially three weeks before the event. The district plans the calendar for many events long in advance, including the days/dates of graduation and promotion at high schools and middle schools. I'm sure the district calendar committee could benefit from your input, as well as from other parents and community members.


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Posted by Not native Californian
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 11, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Where I grew up, all the high schools had graduation the week after(!) finals were over. Everyone took finals at the same time (and they were based on the whole year of material), final grades were submitted, school was out for everyone, and then we had graduation. Seems like they try to speed up everything here.


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Posted by Jim H.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 11, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Given that the schedule has been out for sometime, maybe those underclass siblings of graduating seniors can plan ahead and study ahead of time so there's no need to cram the night before a final.

They've had the same basic schedule for as long as I can remember. Somehow, everyone manages to make it through without any long term mental issues.


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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 12, 2014 at 8:55 am

The real difference from several years ago is not the timing of graduation but the timing of finals. Until we had this new calendar, finals ended on the Wednesday and the final day of school was just a hangout day and students received their grades, signed year books, etc. Now the Thursday has finals because of the calendar and school ending in May.


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Posted by Former Viking
a resident of Triple El
on May 12, 2014 at 9:40 am

When I graduated from Paly in 1999, the ceremony was on a Friday afternoon, period.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2014 at 9:51 am

Jim H.

"maybe those underclass siblings of graduating seniors can plan ahead and study ahead of time so there's no need to cram the night before a final."

Even if you study and plan ahead, you need to need review time before a final and you need to be somewhat rested before and during that week. Dead week is rarely dead week anymore.

The "suck it up" everyone "manages" attitude doesn't make sens in this case when there was such a fight about changing calendar to reduce student stress.


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Posted by Historical View
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 12, 2014 at 11:39 am

According to the PA Weekly archives (via the Wayback Machine), in 1998, graduation for Gunn and Paly was on June 9, a Tuesday (Web Link). In 1996, it was on June 12, a Wednesday (Web Link).

If history is any guide, well, there isn't much guidance to be had ;-)


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Posted by Palo Verde Parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 12, 2014 at 11:48 am

"The real difference from several years ago is not the timing of graduation but the timing of finals. Until we had this new calendar, finals ended on the Wednesday and the final day of school was just a hangout day and students received their grades, signed year books, etc. Now the Thursday has finals because of the calendar and school ending in May."

This was true for Paly but not for Gunn. Gunn had the Monday before finals as a review day and took finals on T/Wed/Th and did not have a hang out day with students. Gunn has had finals the day after graduation for a while now.


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Posted by Parent @ Paly
a resident of Professorville
on May 13, 2014 at 3:58 pm

This issue was brought up to Diorio at the beginning of the year but she wasn't interested in changing the graduation date. It's on Paly property so why not? "Graduation has been on Wednesdays for 10 years" is pure complacency. We live in Silicon Valley where people work to improve life.


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Posted by Nothing is Simple
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 13, 2014 at 4:39 pm

@Parent @ Paly - "Why not," you ask? You may be right, maybe it is simple. On the other hand, Paly and Gunn have for a very long time had their graduations on the same day, at the same time. Do they need to? Who knows? Would it have to be carefully vetted? Definitely. Would Gunn be interested in changing? And so on.

In addition, as mentioned above, the middle school promotion ceremonies are held on Thursday. Can we have both high school and middle school ceremonies at the same time? Maybe, but a hardship if you have both an 8th and 12th grader. And the Board members and superintendent would be split 5 ways. Could the middle schools move to Weds? Maybe, but then they have to agree.

So yes, it is a fair question if it could be done. But not a simple question. Decrying "pure complacency" seems like a harsh judgment in this case. Perhaps you can volunteer to lead the committee to research and negotiate all this for next year?


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Posted by why do we even have a baccalaureate ceremony?
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 14, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Why do we even have baccalaureate ceremonies? Do we really need them in addition to graduation? They always feel like recitals (I've been to 3 or 4) more than anything related to graduation.


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