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The Foothill Dragon Press

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Opinion: Yay or nay for the 2024-2025 schedule change?

Ella Nicolle
The 2024 – 2025 school year brings big changes to the schedules of students at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech). With news spreading about the change, it has become a regular topic of discussion for students and teachers alike.

For more background information, read this Foothill Dragon Press (FDP) news article.

Beginning in the 2024-2025 school year, Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) will be adhering to the college calendar schedule, similar to other school districts around Ventura County, such as Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD), which has been on the schedule for years. Why, you ask? Well, there are a plethora of reasons. 

First, the most prominent change is shifting the end of semester one to before winter break, meaning that finals will take place during the days leading up to winter break. This, along with beginning school a week earlier and ending a week earlier, helps high school schedules line up with the Ventura College (VC) calendar, making it easier and more convenient for many students to manage additional college classes. 

On the other hand, staff and students of VUSD will have to undergo a summer break this year which will be a week shorter than usual in order to accommodate the transition into the new calendar. Furthermore, changing a schedule so fully ingrained into a system always has its difficulties.

I think this is better; you finish your semester and then you’re on your break and you’re able to actually relax rather than thinking of your finals for when you come back.”

— Jaelisa Lozano-Rivera ‘26

Some students and staff of Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) showed their support of the new schedule.

Jaelisa Lozano-Rivera ‘26 stated, “This year we went on winter break and came back to have our finals, which was annoying because we’re gone for a while and then tested on all this stuff.”

As the Chicago Tribute pointed out, “Many students think of winter break as a time to relax, hang out with friends, enjoy their families and take advantage of a few days away from school… [not as] a time to study for finals and worry about the impending grade[s].” 

Russell Gibbs, the principal of Foothill Tech for the past four years, also explained how he thought the schedule was wonderful when he used to teach under this college calendar. He stated, “After the last [transition] summer, those few days we lost were long gone; it wasn’t even an effector.”

A few students are neutral on the change, with students such as Natalie “Cherry” Breehl ‘25 indicating that, although the shorter-than-usual transition summer will be an annoyance for students who love their summertime off, it won’t affect the rest of the school year that much. She also  how Halloween will finally take place during fall break. 

Then again, with every merit, there is also a detriment. Mika Anderson, a Bioscience Academy and science teacher, explained how the biggest negative for her was actually the complete alignment with Ventura College, “We have a lot of students in Dual Enrollment who are now going to be really stressed out during finals because finals is going to happen at the same time [for college and high school classes] … Considering the number of students at Foothill who do Dual Enrollment, this might not necessarily be positive for student management of stress.”

Looking at both sides, I think there are positives and negatives; it’s a complex issue, as always.”

— Mika Anderson, Honors Physiology Teacher

These points of a potential increase in student stress was also mentioned by Breehl as well as Lozano-Rivera, who pointed out that the, “shorter summer this year will take away preparation time for school, especially for athletes or students taking college classes.”

Aside from the stress that finals before winter break can cause, they can snuff out some of the holiday cheer and festivities that have traditionally taken place right before winter break. For example, Foothill Tech’s Associated Student Body (ASB) usually hosts a winter week during which students dress up as their favorite holiday movie character or dress down in pajamas. 

Another downside for the teachers specifically is that since finals will be taking place right before winter break, they will be forced to grade over the break. Anderson stated, “To have the expectation of grading and then coming back and posting those grades I think is going to be not so fair for those teachers.” 

With so many mixed opinions, the best course of action may be to gladly accept the benefits while preparing ourselves for the challenges. As the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus observed, “There is nothing permanent except change.”

What do you think?
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About the Contributors
Jane Kim
Jane Kim, Writer
First-year writer with a passion for music, current events and science.
Ella Nicolle
Ella Nicolle, Multimedia Editor
Photo editor who’s a classic car enthusiast with hippie tendencies.

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