To accommodate for tight scheduling in the school year, the MCPS Board of Education decided on spring break scenario one, ensuring a longer vacation for the 2019-2020 school year, after debating two options.
The two options over the future of spring break were open to the public to leave comments through a survey. The Board of Education also met with internal work groups and external focus groups to receive feedback. After surveying and discussing opinions, the Board of Education ultimately decided to approve scenario one.
Scenario one presented a ten day spring break containing four non-instructional days and two weekends while scenario two offered a six-day spring break with one weekend and two non-instructional days. Scenario one gives students time to travel, rest and begin to prepare for exams.
Principal Sinclair expresses the benefits of having a longer spring break. “From a student point of view and as a father myself, spring break is a huge time for a lot of our families to travel,” he says. “It does hurt if you don’t have a week off.”
However, scenario one conflicts with teachers’ contracts, cutting time to grade with limited professional days. Principal Sinclair expresses how the ten day break could end up negatively affecting teachers, he says, “They’ve lost a lot of time to get caught up, do communication, plan things, and really just catch their breath.”
English teacher Omari Daniel expressed distaste toward scenario two. “Four days is not a spring break, it’s a spring bruh.” he says. “We need way longer than that to rejuvenate ourselves.”
Elizabeth Jones, English teacher and member of the union board of directors for Montgomery County Education Association, emphasizes how Jones also goes on to explain how necessary a long spring break can be to students, especially before AP exams. “I think by the time spring break rolls around, we all need a break,” she says. “By April, everyone in the building tends to be a little stressed out.”
Some attribute this issue of tight scheduling to Governor Larry Hogan’s law extending summer break. Before the law, MCPS was planning to start the school year mid-August, giving more time for students to prepare for exams. Now the school year begins four weeks later than what MCPS intended.
Ms. Jones expresses that she holds the law accountable as the reason why there is debate between each spring break option. “It’s with the intention of benefiting the economics of Ocean City,” she says.