Attendance numbers low following break

Frustrated students return from shortened break Jan. 2

Marta Hill

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Isabel Kjaer

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Kaia Myers

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Kaia Myers

Junior Clayton Horstman-Olson holds the door at the entrance of the school Dec. 20. Winter break for the 2019-2020 school year was Dec. 21 - Jan. 1.

After returning to school two days earlier than pervious years, freshman Wilton Bomsta said he felt the time in school wasn’t worth it.

“I didn’t really like it because I don’t feel like we did anything on those two days,” Bomsta said. “I’d rather have a longer winter break than a two-day longer summer break.”

According to Superintendent Astein Osei, the decision to have a shorter winter break was complicated. The School Board weighed many factors including child care for younger students and ending the school year earlier.

“The calendar is probably one of the best educational tools that we have,” Osei said. “When you have long breaks, it generally requires district schools to go longer.”

English and cinema teacher Andrew Carlson said the trade-off of a shorter winter break for a longer school year was worth it. 

“I think everyone would have preferred to have a couple of extra days this time of year, but I think it’ll be nice not having to come back after graduation that Monday and Tuesday,” Carlson said. 

It was stupid (to return Jan. 2), and we should’ve had our two days because we have all the other years”

— Kwame Fokuo

While attendance has been lower than normal Jan. 2 and 3, according to assistant principal Jessica Busse, some students and staff have taken the two day week as an opportunity to do some extra work.

“It’s brought up some really good conversations and the people that have been here have been able to get a lot of work done that they might not have been able to get done,” Busse said. 

According to freshman Kwame Fokuo, the two days with school in session failed to offer any benefits when compared to previous years.

“It was stupid (to return Jan. 2), and we should’ve had our two days because we have all the other years,” Fokuo said. “It’s pointless to go and kids should have fun instead.”

Busse said students have voiced concerns over the calendar, but it is a complicated issue without a simple solution. 

“Some students have talked to superintendent Osei about the calendar and about how they feel they weren’t consulted about the calendar. He heard that and has taken that into consideration,” Busse said. “It’s something the School Board and the district are looking at. It’s district-wide, and it’s also not something that’s just St. Louis Park, there are other districts that are going through the same issue.”