Skyline students balk at starting school in August
At Issaquah School District (ISD), the official first day of school has been creeping into August.
This year, school will start on Aug. 30, almost a week earlier than the starting date four years ago. In 2018, the first day of school for ISD was Sept. 5. In 2020, the start date was Sept. 1.
Meanwhile, the last day of school has remained relatively consistent. In 2019, the last day was June 19. In 2021, it was June 17. For 2023, ISD’s last day of school is even later — June 20.
ISD creates its school calendars through the collaboration of their staff and school board. The school board approved the 2022 to 2023 calendar during their meeting on Aug. 26, 2021, without discussing the chosen starting date during that meeting or any meetings prior.
Sometimes, the dates are set based on natural variation of calendars, as well as the shifting of holidays. For example, in 2021, the first day of school was set for Aug. 31 to account for the Rosh Hashanah holiday.
The total number of school days has not changed, remaining at 180 days per year as legally required by Washington state. However, this upcoming school year has an additional “Inclement Weather Make-up Day,” a longer winter break in December, and the addition of a holiday for Juneteenth, causing the full school calendar to elongate.
At Skyline High School, many students are not enthusiastic about starting school in late August.
“It feels like it’s getting cut shorter,” said Madison Tam, 15, a sophomore, who was unenthused about her curtailed summer vacation.
Tam attributes this feeling to the connotations behind the months of August and September.
“In my mind at least, I think of summer as…June, July, and all of August. I think of school as all of September,” she said.
Other students feel similarly. Even though the difference between starting in late August and early September is less than a week, it represents a huge mindset change, which makes the transition back to school more difficult.
“September has always been in my mind the start of school, and August has always been summer,” said Kaitlyn Tsiu, 15, a rising sophomore. “When you adjust it, it’s almost like you’re interfering with what my brain has accepted in these months.”
One of the reasons why students enjoy summer so much is because of the various opportunities they take advantage of. From good weather to spending time on hobbies, summer is a break from academics and a time for kids to have fun.
“Summer is the best time of my life,” Amaar Khan, a 15-year-old sophomore, said.
Other students concur that summer provides a chance to take a break from academics. Anjali Patel, 15, a rising sophomore, points out that “summer is actually a time to focus on what you want to do with your life.”
Anya Clemente, 15, another rising sophomore, agrees.
“You get time for yourself. School doesn’t really give time for that,” she said.
Some parents, on the other hand, are looking on the bright side.
“I think it’s good,” said Arti Chauhan, 48, a parent. “It gives more time for children to ease into the school year.”