In August of 2016, Governor Larry Hogan declared a mandate that all Maryland schools must open after Labor Day and must complete all classes by June 15th. While there are positive economic implications for such a change that does not necessarily follow in the world of education. When Saint John’s administrators mapped out the 2017-2018 school year, we had to be cognizant of the Hogan mandate as well as the Maryland Department of Education’s requirements which defines the high school year as 180 days with a minimum requirement of 1,170 hours during a ten-month period. Because SJCP runs on a quarter/semester system, it was nearly impossible for the administration to squeeze 90 days into the first semester and still complete exams prior to Christmas. As a result, this year’s midterms fell after the Christmas break.
Many parents, teachers, and staff members have raised strong arguments about reverting back to our typical schedule with exams prior to Christmas. As we are a college preparatory institution and want to best prepare our students for the semester rhythms of college, we will arrange for midterm exams to take place before Christmas in the 2018-2019 school year. In order to fulfill the MSDE requirements of 90 days per semester, we may need to be creative. But rest assured: we will make sure this occurs next year.
Next week, the second semester begins after a long “Semester break” weekend and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. Students will receive copies of their second-semester schedule on Tuesday, January 16th. Per usual, students who have new second semester courses have two weeks to drop/add courses (by January 30th). I would also like to remind everyone that any books for second-semester courses should be purchased as soon as possible so that students will be prepared.
Happy New Year,Marc Minsker Principal