What to Expect: Schedule Changes for the 2023-2024 School Year
Many changes are on the horizon with the new year’s calendar, including a new time frame for Clash of The Halls (COTH), “Virtual Engagement” Days, and a missing Senior Week, among others.
Arguably the most significant change is the new date for Clash of the Halls (COTH) – rather than beginning the week before Spring Break in March – which has remained consistent for the past five years – COTH has been moved to February 12th-16th. CAB Director Faizaan Shaikh (‘24) explains that this change was due in part to the return of four culture shows this upcoming year, rather than the two bigger shows IMSA ran in the last two years. He goes further to explain that moving COTH to mid-February gives more time for students to plan and produce the two shows students will be seeing in late January and late April. He adds that another hurdle to face is the co-curricular shows that’ll take place during March: the band and choir performances – Friday, March 8th and 15th – prevent a culture show from running during those weeks (as the week leading up to the concerts is used by the Music Department to practice.) Faizaan also mentions that the new date for COTH, while “not the best, [is] still going to be as good as possible. [COTH] prep time is still up in the air, but it’ll most likely go through Intersession.”
As for culture shows, IMSA is planning to return to its pre-pandemic standard of hosting four culture shows. Here are the current allotted dates for those shows:
- The Indian Student Association’s (ISA) show (Jalsa) will be on September 29th and 30th. The show will be occurring the week after Homecoming, which has brought into question the availability of show prep and Pep Rally practice time. However, according to ISA board member Srihari Gurugubelli, it seems like ISA’s prepared to face these challenges head-on – as he states: “It’s definitely not an ideal time for a culture show but it got [four shows] on the calendar so we’re happy for that. I think the biggest part of [the new change] is actually going to be the culture clubs themselves coming together to help get all the logistics sorted in a month and a half… It’s nothing we can’t get done together.”
- Alma Latina’s show (Casa de Alma) will take place in early November. This marks a change from past years when it was in May. Unfortunately, The Acronym did not receive a comment from Alma Latina’s leadership.
- The Asian Students In America’s (ASIA) show (Lunar) will take place in late January. This show is going to have the biggest time constraints, since Intersession is taking place before the show and COTH taking place after the show. ASIA President Jerrick Li explains: “[We] must acknowledge the challenge of our current schedule; one of limited and sporadic preparation time. Despite this setback, ASIA is determined to deliver an impactful Lunar 2024… we [will] continue to push for an improved and equitable schedule in the future.”
- The Black Student Union’s (BSU) show (Harambee) will be running in late April. This marks a change from past years as the new date for the show doesn’t align with Black History Month, which takes place in February. Unfortunately, The Acronym did not receive a comment from BSU’s leadership.
There has also been a change in the schedule for the last week of school regarding Senior Week. In previous years, the Spring Semester finals took place after Memorial Day (Tuesday and Wednesday) and lead up to a half-week of unscheduled fun for the seniors. The half-week led up to a visit to Six Flags Great America on Saturday night. However, finals for Semester 2 this year take place from May 29th (Wednesday) to May 30th (Thursday) which effectively omits one unscheduled day. This change to the schedule is due to a new instructional day taking place after Memorial Day on the 28th (Tuesday), which pushes back finals by one day. Also, the Great America trip isn’t included in the calendar on that Saturday. An extra instruction day is also added before Fall Semester Finals on December 18th (Monday) which pushes back the starting date for Winter Break by one day. Dean of Student Support & Equity Paul Gaszak explains, “The day will include a half-day of classes, followed by a half-day of study/prep sessions for final exams. The intention is to provide students the opportunity to get in-person support from faculty/staff the week of finals to be as prepared as possible for exams.” The Acronym will gather more details on what this means for Senior Week and the Six Flags Great America trip.
There are also some changes to breaks and extended periods. Rather than the multiple smaller extended breaks, IMSA has opted to schedule larger breaks, like October’s new Fall Break which takes place from October 7th-16th. This comes with an added change: move-out days for Extended breaks are now on Saturdays rather than the Friday before the weekend, closing at 1 PM rather than the standard 5 PM. While this change might seem impeding to some students, Chief Student Affairs Officer Ms. Katie Berger gave The Acronym good reason to reconsider: “The halls will close on Saturdays for most breaks for a few reasons. Firstly, many families have shared that closing the halls at 5:00 pm on a weekday creates challenges for working parents to arrive in time to pick up their students for breaks. Additionally, scheduling hall closings on Saturdays helps us avoid early dismissal academic days. Early dismissal days often have lower class attendance and they offer less time for meaningful engagement in coursework. We hope that this change supports the needs of our IMSA families who live near and far, as well as ensuring students have more time in the classroom with their teachers.”
Thanksgiving Break will take place from November 18th (again, a Saturday) to the 27th. This break is a little different, however, as it introduces another change to the IMSA schedule – “Virtual Engagement” days – on November 20th (Monday) and November 21st (Tuesday). As explained by Mr. Paul Gaszak:
First, these will not be full days of virtual/remote classes. Instead, students will continue to be engaged in their IMSA experience remotely, with assignments and expectations being established by faculty/staff. For example, a class may assign a paper the week prior that is due during one of the virtual engagement days, and the faculty member will host workshops/tutoring via Zoom to support students on the assignment.
The last “break” that students can expect to see is an April Extended Break from April 27 to May 1. Again, however, as April 29th (Monday) and April 30th (Tuesday) are Virtual Engagement days, it remains to be seen if it will provide much of a break.
There are a couple of other notable changes:
- Intersession has been extended from one week to two weeks, taking place from January 7th (Saturday) to the 19th (Friday).
- Homecoming Week has been moved up to September 18th-22nd. There’s also a Parent Day on the day of Homecoming (Saturday, the 23rd).
- Convocation has now been moved to the Friday before classes start, to August 18th. And while the community cookout isn’t on the calendar, Ms. Katie Berger tells people not to fret – “we will have the Community Cookout after Convocation on Friday, August 18th.”
- Spring Break has been pushed down from the 23rd (Saturday) to April 2nd (Tuesday).
These schedule additions/removals are subject to change, and The Acronym will continue to give updates as they come.