Thank you for paying attention

Two days ago, after complaints from parents, FAC voted to maintain the status quo: the school year will start as always on the Wednesday after Labor Day, semester break will remain intact and midterms will begin just before the Martin Luther King, Jr. three-day weekend.

We just want to say, to those involved, thanks for listening.

We’re often critical of the governing bodies of our school — the Prefect Council, the Community Council, the administration, FAC. We complain that they ignore our pleas and suggestions, that they value the school’s reputation as an academic powerhouse more than the quality of student life, and that they are out of touch. This time, we were proven wrong.

The flaws in a proposal that was undoubtedly well-intentioned and well-considered were recognized — after the changes were announced and complaints poured in, but recognized nonetheless.

The contradictions and faults were inherent. Exams would start three days after the end of winter break, but we (the competitive-to-a-fault student body) wouldn’t be expected to use those two weeks to study? A four-day weekend in October after just a few weeks of school would replace the semester break at the end of an arduous exam period?

Sometimes, change is for the worse. We editorialized about the issue last month, arguing that the revised schedule would detract from time spent with our families and compound stress rather than reduce it. Parents flooded Dr. Huybrechts with calls and e-mails in protest.

Just 24 hours after she informed parents of the proposed schedule changes, Huybrechts acknowledged that the plan needed to be reconsidered. Huybrechts told a Chronicle reporter that she was surprised by the “overwhelming” reaction, and admitted to making a mistake. That took guts, and we’re sure it wasn’t easy to take criticism on a proposal on which we know she and others worked hard.

In that e-mail to parents, Huybrechts stated her belief that “in the best schools, parents and teachers communicate and collaborate.” We couldn’t agree more, but that collaboration needs to occur throughout the drafting process rather than after they have been submitted to FAC for consultation.

This incident should serve as a lesson: to parents and students, your voices matter, so keep using them (in constructive, appropriate ways) when you don’t agree with the school’s leaders. To the administration, consider soliciting feedback from parents and students before announcing macro-scale changes.

And thanks for listening.

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