The Reason Behind Having No Assessments on Chanukah
To ensure that students have ample time to enjoy jelly doughnuts and other scrumptious delicacies with their families, AJA High School policy prohibits assessments during the week of Chanukah. High School Team Leader Ms. Franeen Sarif said that as far as she knows, the policy predates her two years in the High School. Ms. Sarif explained that the policy aims to allow students to enjoy the holiday without the stress of school work.
Junior Margalit Lytton commented that “[she] really appreciated the lighter workload during Chanukah. It gave me time to relax in the evenings so that I could light candles with my family and focus on the holiday.”
“Ms. Sarif explained that the policy aims to allow students to enjoy [Chanukah] without the stress of school work.”
Because teachers could not give assessments during Chanukah, many decided to give tests the week before. Judaic Studies Instructional Team Leader Rabbi Allan Houben explained to a group of freshmen that the weeks leading up to Chanukah were a “peak time” for assessments, especially since Chanukah fell right before winter break, and that “it kind of just ends up being that [teachers] want to give assessments before a break.” He clarified that next year, when Chanukah falls right after Thanksgiving, it is “unlikely to have the same impact.” Regardless of when the holiday falls, teachers will usually give tests before winter break.
Zellik Silverberg, a freshman, appreciated the policy. “It’s really relieving,” he said. “I actually get to spend time doing what I like. Even though there is some crunch beforehand, I think it’s worth it.”
On the other hand, freshman Elisha Feit Mann noted that “teachers tried to jam in as much content as they could before Chanukkah, which left little time [for me] to look forward to Chanukah.”
Ms. Sarif also explained that different students handle work and pressure differently. With many students having individual schedules, it can be complicated to ensure every student doesn’t have a combination of assessments on the same day. Despite this intense time, Ms. Sarif expressed that she thought “students reacted extremely well and advocated for themselves when they were feeling overwhelmed. That is what [the school] encourage[s]: Students to have a voice.”
“With many students having individual schedules, it can be complicated to ensure every student doesn’t have a combination of assessments on the same day.”
Having to work around the policy from the other end, English teacher Mr. David Byron said, “It can be challenging to work [students’] schedule[s] around the holidays, but at the same time, I totally support it and I am happy to give that extra time for [students] to enjoy the holiday.”
Overall, the policy forbidding tests and quizzes on Chanukah ensures that students are able to relax and enjoy the holiday with family and friends, without having the major stressors of school.