Not this year — and seniors are fuming.
"With my school's senior class infuriated and enraged about these recent events, I imagine our counterparts at Cranston East are feeling the same way," said Cranston High School West senior Rena Levin.
School officials said that the change is the result of the Rhode Island Department of Education's strict enforcement of make-up days this year.
School Committee Member Stephanie Culhane said the district used to forgive snow days for seniors "but we can't anymore."
"RIDE gave us a hard time about forgiving snow days in the past," Culhane said.
The announcement of the later end of the year has thrown off schedules, vacations, summer jobs, college orientation and more, Levin said.
"Although it is only a few days of school, this adjustment in the calendar influences many events that the senior class had scheduled. With senior prom being set for June 7th, it now falls right in between finals, whereas beforehand, prom would have been the end of finals week. Realistically, no student is going to study for their Calculus exam when there is an occasion such as prom surrounding it," Levin said.
Students at West found out about the later end to the year in an announcement Monday morning. Students were expecting the end of school to be May 30 but they now are looking at the last day of classes on June 4 with exams starting on June 5 and lasting until June 10 — smack dab in the middle of prom week.
Here's the complete text of Levin's letter to the editor about the concerns of parents and students:
I am writing with the intent to inform you about a recent dilemma that has occurred within the Cranston School Department. I am a current senior at Cranston High School West and up until this morning, I, like all other seniors, was under the impression that the last day of instruction was May 30th. This is the date that had been released on the 2013-2014 school calendar last summer. Unfortunately, bad news was delivered to the Class of 2014 during homeroom this morning; the last day of school for seniors was now rescheduled to June 4th, with exams beginning on June 5th and ending on June 10th.
Although it is only a few days of school, this adjustment in the calendar influences many events that the senior class had scheduled. With senior prom being set for June 7th, it now falls right in between finals, whereas beforehand, prom would have been the end of finals week. Realistically, no student is going to study for their Calculus exam when there is an occasion such as prom surrounding it. As a senior with only a final transcript separating me from college, exam grades do not take priority. However, final grades do affect the teachers. If a senior goes to prom instead of studying, and their final grade reflects this, a teacher will have a drastic drop in class averages.
Cranston West also houses students of the Cranston Area Career and Technical Center, also known as CACTC. These students take classes at West and therefore must take finals at West. However, they do have their own separate graduation, which happens to be June 10th.Usually to graduate from a school, you have to pass the classes within it. If a CACTC student has their final on Tuesday the tenth, there is no guarantee that said student is actually qualified to graduate, whereas beforehand, teachers would have had ample time to grade finals and secure students’ grades.
As seniors, we have commitments with our future educational institutions that have been scheduled during the same time as exams. For example, many students at West are attending the University of Rhode Island next year. With the knowledge that seniors are exempt from any class where their average is a 90 or above, students made plans for orientation at URI for June 2nd. Because this is now a legitimate school day and not an exam day, like it was assumed to be before, these students must either try to rearrange this orientation date, or be penalized for missing a day of school. As we all know, college is a huge expense for families. For this reason, graduating seniors try to find summer employment. Most have already committed to jobs and have set a starting date that has been interrupted by the extended school year. With unemployment in Rhode Island at an all time high, bosses and managers will have no problem getting rid of an employee they have hired. There are dozens more with the same credentials lined up to take our spots.
Finally, we investigate the question “Where do the parents fall in this decision?” I know for sure that this all was a surprise to my parents. My angry text sent this morning was the first they had heard of the situation. It seems odd that parents and guardians would not be notified of such a change. Families plan summer vacations months in advance to make sure they receive the best rates on hotels and airfare. They will be unable to take off on June 6th now because their children will still need to attend school to take their finals. If parents were informed in writing what would the message say? After asking multiple teachers today in school, it seems as though the senior school extension in Cranston is a mystery to them as well. There have only been four days of school missed, all due to snow. The precedent that has been set for many years is that seniors only make up snow days after the fifth day missed.
With my school’s senior class infuriated and enraged about these recent events, I imagine our counterparts at Cranston East are feeling the same way.
Someone must come forward and explain with evidence why there is a sudden change so close to the end of the school year.
Rena Levin, a concerned member of the Class of 2014 at Cranston High School West