Parents worried after Jefferson City Schools move finals

1 month 4 days 5 hours ago Thursday, December 19 2019 Dec 19, 2019 Thursday, December 19, 2019 3:47:00 PM CST December 19, 2019 in News
By: Caroline Dade, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY - Students at both Jefferson City high schools will have to wait until 2020 to take their final exams for this semester. 

This worries parents like Rebecca Harrison. 

Harrison's son is a sophomore at Jefferson City High School, and she said she's concerned having to study over winter break will negatively affect him. 

"I'm already seeing the effects," she said. "He often looks at his break times as a way to manage some of his stress, and right now he’s feeling like instead of getting away from that stress, it's just going to continue. I can attest to my son being on burnout right now."

Ryan Burns, Director of Communications for Jefferson City School District, said the finals are later this year, not because of snow, but because of a later start date in August. 

She said school started later because of construction at the new Capital City High School and in common areas at Jefferson City High School. Since districts are required to have a certain number of days in each term, district leaders had to push finals to the beginning of the new year. 

"This would have been a one-time, one year thing," Burns said. 

However, a new state law changed that.

In July, Governor Mike Parson signed a law that prohibits districts from starting school more than 14 days before Labor Day. Previously, schools weren't allowed to start more than 10 days before Labor Day, but there was an exemption process. Under the new law, there are no exemptions. 

Burns said the new schedule means parents and students can expect January finals in the future, too. She said the district is looking at how students perform this year to determine what teachers might do to help students prepare for finals after break next year. 

"Perhaps the winter break will offer an opportunity for them to recharge and come back to school with fresh minds at the end of break," Burns said. "Maybe it will help them perform better on finals when we come back."

But Harrison said she's not convinced this is beneficial for students. 

"If there are benefits, I would love to hear them," she said. "I have yet to hear a benefit. All I've heard is 'life is tough,' and whereas I understand that, it doesn't mean our school has to make it tough on our kids, too."

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