It’s Summer—Reading?

Staples students officially end the school year the day they take their last final. However, the homework doesn’t end there.

Although they have more time, students have to complete assignments over the summer to prepare for the following school year. The standard assignment for all students is to read two books of their choice for their new English classes. For Advanced Placement (AP) classes, however, the assignments become more demanding.

The Collaborative Team has released a proposal to mandate specific books for all students to read. Once the books have been read, all teachers will mandate small group discussions. The reaction was generally negative from most departments since summer assignments are crucial for many curricula and teachers do not want to have to proctor discussions that do not have to do with their subject.

​“I don’t assign a summer assignment because I like to make students suffer during their summer break. I actually do it for their benefit and to make their lives easier during the school year,” said Michael Aitkenhead, who teaches AP Environmental Science.

Aitkenhead, like many other teachers, feels that summer assignments are necessary because it is easier to get through the amount of material the class needs to cover before the AP exam in early May. “We have essentially eight months to cover material that should probably be taught over 10 months or longer,” he said.

However, students don’t seem to feel the same way.

“I think [summer assignments are] unnecessary because some teachers don’t even review the work you’ve done when you come back to school,” said Caroline O’Brien ’14. “It’s summer. You’re supposed to have a break!”

Looking back on her experience, Katie Degener ’13 feels that summer assignments were somewhat helpful.

“It helps for the rest of the year and doesn’t take up that much time,” Degener said.

The written concluding notes of the proposal state that “Mr. John Dodig said we would table the idea and discuss it again next year.”

Luckily for teachers and much to the dismay of students, books and notes will continue to accompany the towels and chairs at the beach.