Take a Break, Make it Closed

Claudia Lin, Staff Writer

As the end of the semester slowly creeps up on students, the unhealthy obsession of scanning the gradebook integrates itself into their daily routines. In a society that places immense pressure on students, making the grades unavailable for viewing throughout winter break is the perfect solution for helping reduce stress and anxiety.

“I think blacking out the grades is good because it prevents people from wasting their break worrying about grades,” sophomore Diya Nadig said. “If the grades are blacked out, students have the ability to actually enjoy their break instead of worrying the entire time.”

When we focus our attention on real-time, up-to-the-second reporting on the portal, we elevate the false idols of scores and grades and devalue what really has an impact on learning: positive student-teacher relationships, relevance and student engagement.”

— Jessica Lahey

As a student, Nadig finds blacking out the grades during winter break mentally beneficial, but many students struggle to understand the fact that this decision provides a relaxing mental health break for teachers as well. Part of the Portola High’s social studies department’s decision to make the grades unaccessible to students was that it allows for both teachers and students to unplug from the exhausting environment. 

“The [teachers that make the gradebook available] are often receiving emails from students over the break about grades, and so what we’ve noticed is that when the conversations about fluctuations in the gradebook continue into winter break, it defeats the purpose of having grade  free zones,” social studies department chair Jon Resendez said. 

By blacking out the grades, students are enabled to focus on caring for themselves during winter break while also maintaining a productive relationship with their teachers. 

In a New York Times article, writer Jessica Lahey said, “When we focus our attention on real-time, up-to-the-second reporting on the portal, we elevate the false idols of scores and grades and devalue what really has an impact on learning: positive student-teacher relationships, relevance and student engagement.” 

Due to reasons such as reducing anxiety during winter break for both students and teachers, blacking out the grades will aim to successfully serve its purpose by allowing the school’s population to cherish their winter break instead of stressing over it.