Spring is in the air, which can mean only one thing – spring break. The time-honored tradition of spring break for the students, teachers, and parents of Oconee County Schools is alive and well and begins on Friday, March 29. Schools will be closed from that day through April 5, with students returning to class on Monday, April 8.
This much-appreciated respite for our young people creates a buzz in our schools as students eagerly anticipate the family outings or events they have planned during this traditional break from formal studies. When students return they will have seven short weeks – or thirty-two days – until the academic year comes to a close. These days will be filled with state assessments, awards ceremonies, proms, field days, and a whole host of other school-related activities. For many students the next seven weeks will also mark the conclusion of their educational journey at one level and the transition to the next – elementary to middle school, middle to high school, or high school to college or the work world. Oconee County High School and North Oconee High School will hold graduation ceremonies on May 25 to honor and celebrate their senior classes. But for now, these young people can focus on rest, relaxation, and the ability to recharge their batteries for the push to summer.
I, for one, see the break as a positive for our students. Students today are more engaged and have a higher demand on their time than ever before. Our teachers provide a rigorous curriculum that breeds and expects excellence, and our students deliver. Oconee County Schools is a leader in the state of Georgia in SAT scores, EOCT scores, CRCT scores, Advanced Placement course work and assessment excellence, and graduation rate. These accomplishments do not come without hard work from our students and teachers, and hardworking individuals deserve an opportunity to take a step back from time to time to survey their body of work and chart their next course. Trust me when I tell you that many of our teachers and students will be reading, grading, and completing coursework during their time off. Yet, for those that can get away for a brief time, the mental and physical break is a good thing.
Other countries agree and have embraced the spring break concept as well. In Japan, spring break starts with the end of the academic year in March and ends on April 1 with the beginning of a new academic year. In Guatemala, spring break takes place during Easter with students taking a week to rest and the workforce shutting down for three days. In Mexico, spring break occurs during the Holy Week, and the one after it. Finally – and perhaps my favorite – in Brazil, spring break is commonly known as the "boredom week" and grew around two public holidays.
What are your thoughts about spring break? Does your family have traditions during this time? Please share your thoughts and stories with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.