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The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

Finals to be given on specific dates

District aims to make things less stressful for students
Finals+to+be+given+on+specific+dates
Brody Heidemann

Finals week will look different this December and May as Gretna Public Schools has reformed when they will be given.  Finals will be assigned over a span 0f three days, instead of whenever a teacher assigns a final, unit test or project. Each subject will have a specific assigned date and the bell schedule will be adjusted to have extended classes on those days. 

“The idea behind all of this is not to create stress,” principal Chad Jepsen said. “It’s truly a plan that, hopefully, will alleviate some stress and anxiety.”

In past years, many students crammed and stressed at the end of the semester for the one thing gatekeeping them from freedom: finals. All finals, or last unit tests, were given according to what what a teacher had scheduled themselves. There were no district mandated finals days, so students could have potentially had seven finals to complete in one day. While the chances of a student having all seven classes have their final on the same day was slim, the new finals schedule makes that impossible. The change is the district’s way of trying to reduce stress for students by spacing them out a bit and allowing extra time to complete missing assignments.

The time crunch of the former finals schedule is something that many students felt. Junior Calvin Zabloudil explained that he didn’t feel he had enough time to complete his finals last year.

“Teachers ask ‘any final questions?,’” Zabloudil said. “That takes 15 minutes. [Then] you got 10 minutes to really do it because then you get pressured by other students because they’re turning theirs in.”

While students will now only have a few extended classes per finals day, no other changes are expected. The alterations are meant to reduce stress about the time limit and number of tests a student must take in a given day. 

“The Gretna Public Schools policy regarding semester assessments has not changed,” Jepsen said in an email to parents/guardians on Monday. “They contribute no more than 10% of a student’s semester grade and may or may not be comprehensive.”

While more details from the district about which classes will be assigned to which days will come in upcoming weeks, the dates for finals have been released. First semester finals will be Dec. 19, 20 and 21, and second semester finals will be May 20, 21 and 22.

Not only is there the possibility for students to benefit from the change, but teachers may as well. The extended time will allow teachers more time to work with students. It may also give them more time to grade or prepare during periods that don’t have finals that day.

“At the end of the semester, you’re trying to get everyone caught up, trying to get everyone to get their work turned in,” science teacher Sean Cunningham said. “This just makes it easier on the student, but now it makes it a little bit easier on the teacher.”

Additionally, GPS administration has decided that students will keep their laptops over the summer. In the past, students checked in their laptops prior to the last days of school. Due to this, teachers were not able to plan digital-based tests after those days, resulting in a shortened window for testing. The district’s change in the laptop take-home policy is aimed to eliminate this issue. 

“There’ll be some updates,” Jepsen said in regards to the new laptop policy, but “at the end of the day, end of the year so to speak, kids will get to keep their computer.”

The district plans to finalize the changes and officially announce them later this semester. 

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About the Contributor
Brody Heidemann, Sports Editor
Brody Heidemann is a junior at Gretna East and this will be his second year on an online journalism staff. He was on the Gretna Media staff at Gretna High last year. This year he is the GEHS Wingspan's Sports Editor. As a sophomore, Brody won third place in Yearbook Sports Feature Writing and also fifth in Sports News Writing at the NSAA High School State Journalism championships for Class-A. Brody enjoys participating in journalism because he is interested in learning about other people and likes being social. His goal for this year is to stay productive and keep stories coming out. Outside of school, he enjoys playing video games, working at Hy-vee and hanging out with friends. 
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