First, two weeks at the beginning of the year in class is far more useful than at the end of the year. This is true because of AP testing primarily, and SOL testing secondarily. The pacing of material and preparations for the exams can be done much more effectively for students and teachers. Increasing student achievement is central to our program.
Second, stress and anxiety would be reduced significantly. AP Days would no longer be needed. Summer assignments could be reduced or eliminated. The early start schedule also better aligns with the Walker Athletics schedule. Student health and well being are very important to us.
Third, midterm exams could feasibly be given before Winter Break. This would provide clearer end and beginning points to the materials taught in class. Specific recall of detailed content would become less of a concern. Less class time would be spent on review. January would be a fresh start for our community of learners.
Cumulatively, these facets allow students to have more authentic downtime in the calendar by reducing the need to schedule into breaks or assignments over breaks. At the same time, we can improve student well being and achievement.