Since becoming a secondary principal each year at this time, I am always so stressed by the quick turn around time necessary to get all of the academic honors figured and to ensure all seniors have fulfilled their graduation requirements. Each year we dismiss the seniors prior to all of the rest of the students and genearlly need to have grades turned in the day after seniors are dismissed to allow time to print programs for the awards ceremony and graduation. Why?
I have questioned this practice since I began teaching high school students and it has gotten less and less palatable to me each year. By ending the senior's year early, we are forced to run reports using the student management system twice. We are grading seniors in a class with different criteria we are using for all of the rest of the students who have to remain the rest of the year. Worst of all, in years like this one, not only do we loose the planned five days of instruction, but also loose all of the days we moved to the end of the school year due to inclement weather (snow days).
I would really like to start a new tradition. Let's give the seniors a full year, allow teachers adequate time to score end of the year assessments and provide office support staff adequate time to carefully calculate grades and put programs together for awards celebrations and the commencement ceremony which could be held a week or so after the end of the school year.
Afterall, most of our seniors, even here in the midwest, are not needed in the fields or for other duties on the farm.