Alternative Learning Days are Officially Gone for Good


(Photographer: Jenna Krisiak)

Luke Redgate, Copy Editor

The commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education of Massachusetts has recently announced that Alternative Learning Days will not be used to replace school days at the start of the next school year. This decision has both upset and pleased students and teachers all across the state, but how do the students and teachers here at Pentucket feel about this change?

The best person to ask about this is Mrs. Costello, who knows a lot about Alternative Learning Days and has worked closely on establishing how they will be executed in our school. She explained that because Massachusetts has one of the highest standards of education in the country, the state most likely thought that Alternative Learning Days would not meet the education standard, which upset her. 

“I believe in online learning,” she said, explaining that the future of education will utilize an immersive online experience. She worries that stopping the use of Alternative Learning Days will only make that future more distant, but she does understand what led the state to make that decision due to the asynchrony of the whole experience. 

While Mrs. Costello was relatively undecided, other people were much more sure of their stance.

“You end up just doing extra homework,” said Sophomore Mikey Murphy, believing that Alternative Learning Days add more stress and work to his schedule than just another day to make up at the end of the year. He thinks that assignments often seem too rushed or even pointless, saying, “The worst ones are MCAS practices. They are just pointless and you could totally just do that at a different time.”

“It’s good when they give us like a week to do it,” said Gwen Faino, another sophomore. She shares a similar stance as Murphy, believing that Alternative Learning Days can be pointless and sometimes don’t even make sense. 

She explains an assignment that a Spanish teacher once gave her, saying, “One time I had to make a snowman in the middle of midterms when there wasn’t even any snow, and everyone just […] didn’t know what to do.”

But there were other reasons for people not to support Alternative Learning Days than just the rushed and pointless nature of them. Mrs. Endyke, head of the science department, said that there are more reasons for the state’s decision than you might think.

“There are so many other factors” she explains. “[There are] families that don’t have internet access, [have a] loss of power, and students that need academic support they might not have access to at home.” 

But not everyone supports the decision to do away with Alternative Learning days.

“I don’t want to be working when I could be on the beach,” said CAD and Robotics teacher Mrs. Kelly. The nice weather towards the end of the school year makes anyone want to go outside, so being stuck in the building on a nice sunny day is understandably frustrating.

“I think it would be nice if it was up for the district to decide,” said Mr. Bixby in regards to the state’s decision. A system where it’s the district’s choice to utilize Alternative Learning Days makes more sense to him, seeing as many people at Pentucket still value the use of them in our school. 

Both teachers shared the mindset where if you know your curriculum well enough and are prepared, it is not difficult to create an ALD assignment that makes sense and is meaningful to the class.

Unfortunately, many Pentucket teachers here don’t get that memo. 

Overall, the student and teacher body here at Pentucket are pretty divided on the state’s decision. How do you feel about it?