In 2009, the Humboldt Collegiate Institute (HCI) calendar had a cut to the final exam schedule from five to four days, and also cut the teacher workday after final exams each semester.
In response, at the Joint Operations Committee meeting for HCI on October 13, 2009, the HCI School Community Council requested to keep the five days for final exams and retain the one teacher work day each semester; as these changes were not in the best interests of the students of HCI, and would have a negative impact for both students and teaching staff.
The staff of HCI submitted a letter stating their concerns with the changes. The SRC presented a letter and spoke on behalf of the student body, about the detrimental impact this would have to their ability to obtain the highest possible marks.
A petition of 267 signatures was presented from the students of HCI requesting to stay with the five-day exam schedule.
A parent presented concerns and a petition of 259 signatures from the community in support of retaining the five-day exam schedule and the one teacher workday.
The Director of Education recommended due to the strong unified support of students, staff, and community, the HCI calendar be reconsidered. On October 20, 2009 their decision was made to retain the five days for final exams and the one teacher workday and the changes were reversed.
Now, just two years later, very similar changes have been made to the HCI calendar. Although five days for finals are scheduled, the first two days have morning classes with a final exam in the afternoon, and the last three days have a final exam in the morning. This year's calendar also cuts the one teacher workday after final exams.
On October 18, 2011 presentations will again be made to the JOC for the following:
1. A full day for each of the five final exams, with no classes or instructional time on any of the exam days, particularly not for Grades 10, 11, 12.
When final exams begin, courses should be completed; instructional time on the first two exam days conflicts with study time and is detrimental to the outcome of exams on those days; it also reduces study time for the exam that occurs the morning of the third day.
Having the five full days, as HCI has always had in the past, provides study and preparation time that is equivalent to what the vast majority of students from other city schools have, whom HCI students will be competing with for competitive scholarships and post secondary entrance requirements.
2. At least one teacher workday at the end of each semester. At the time of amalgamation of the school divisions (January 1, 2006) HCI teachers had two workdays each semester. In 2008, a day was cut, followed by the attempt in 2009 to cut the last day.
This time is for marking, inputting marks to a database, meetings with parents, students, and other teachers, and preparing for the new semester's classes. Other city schools have two teacher workdays at the end of each semester; it is not unreasonable to expect HCI teachers to have at least one.
To retain quality teachers in our high school and effective student assessment methods, this workday needs to be protected.
3. That the above requests be considered as standards for future HCI calendar planning.
HCI is the only city school in Horizon School Division. It has the largest class sizes and an enrolment of 362 in Grades 9-12. When planning school operations in a large school division, there needs to be consideration for the differences between city and rural schools, such as 85-90 students per grade compared to eight to 15. What works in smaller rural schools may not be in the best interests of HCI.
In 2009, the community responded with a clear message, and this year we need to do it again. If you agree with these concerns please sign one of the petitions being circulated. Thank you for your support and interest in this concern.