This week on Town Square | January 11, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - January 11, 2013

This week on Town Square

Town Square is an online discussion forum at

Posted Jan. 5 at 9:58 a.m. by parent, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood:

What do your kids think about finishing the semester before break? Here's what I hear from high schoolers:

Teacher's didn't have time for review before finals. Some were still teaching new material right before the test.

It was nice to have time after Christmas before going back to school.

Didn't have time to study for finals.

No energy to study for finals. Exhausted by the rush.

It's good to start the new term when we get back.

Good and bad — more thoughts?

Posted Jan. 5 at 8:05 p.m. by wishful thinking?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood:

It seemed like the semester was on a stride until Thanksgiving, then it was like the lights went out. Grades posted on Infinite Campus became fewer and farther between, and in some case the last grades posted, previous to finals, were back in November and even October.

This may have caused a crunch between new material after Thanksgiving and finals review. It was a gray area.

I know this is too much to ask, but it would help if teachers would say there are X number of tests, quizzes and major assignments before Thanksgiving, X number between Thanksgiving and the week before final review dates.

Posted Jan. 5 at 10:12 p.m. by THANKS BoE, a member of the Palo Alto High School community:

My son enjoyed having the stress-free break and so did we. In past winter breaks, he would not study during the break, but he would feel guilty for not studying so he could not relax. This winter break has been fabulous because he could actually relax and hang out and not worry about studying. He will return to Paly fresh and ready for a new semester instead of returning with the burden of having to flip through old material and study for final exams.

I don't quite understand why "wishful thinking?" suggested students know how many tests/quizzes/assignments are upcoming. How would this help the students?

Posted Jan. 6 at 5:05 p.m. by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood:

Great stress-free winter break (OK, at least free of school related stress...). The only downside was ending so close to Christmas, my daughter had to study for finals with a house full of company.

Posted Jan. 7 at 9:10 a.m. by Colleje Graduite, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood:

This is how college works. Kids should get accustomed to it.

Posted Jan. 7 at 2:08 p.m. by Hated it, a member of the Palo Alto High School community:

One word review of the new calendar from a parent of a senior: dreadful.

While it sounds from the posts that some who don't have seniors appreciated the "no thoughts of school" over break relief, I assure you that when their child becomes a senior they will not think that that "relief" outweighed the extraordinary weeks and weeks of additional stress the new calendar caused seniors applying to private colleges.

What was the district thinking? That public high schools need only support PAUSD seniors who apply to public colleges and recruited athletes?

Posted Jan. 7 at 2:39 p.m. by Palo Verde Parent, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood:

Loved the lack of stress hanging over my student's head. He was not worried about finals and was able to truly relax. Our older son (in college now) and his friends spent their entire winter break (a few years back) doing college applications.

The college application crunch will happen over winter break regardless of when finals are held. Either way they don't have time to do them in December before the break. If there are not finals, then there are chapter tests, projects and essays. So for our family it was a welcome change! Hope we keep it!

Posted Jan. 7 at 10:58 p.m. by Paly senior parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community:

My senior daughter (and us) thought this is great — it was so nice to be done with school before the break so that she could finish college applications (including private colleges) while done with school work for the term. The last few weeks of term were extremely full, but being done with it for the break was worth it. I agree that the anxiety of not doing work during the break that you know should be done is a huge stressor for our kids.

The only thing that would have been preferable is to have the teachers manage the course better so that they weren't teaching new material right up to the end -- but I assume they'll get better at that as they get familiar with this schedule. Don't change it back — this is MUCH better.