Francis Lewis Returns to Midterms during Regents Week

January Regents week has been shrouded in controversy over the past few years at Francis Lewis.  Last year, classes were held during the week in addition to Regents exams, much to the dismay of many in attendance. Although no classes were held this school year, midterms still took place, filling the space left in the week. This decision was met with optimism, though it wasn’t greeted with such stellar results when it had initially been introduced two years ago.  

“For those three days during Regents Week I have an empty building where I have maybe two or three rooms being used for testing, and the entire rest of the building empty,”  Principal Dr. Marmor said.  

“The students were home when they could be here learning something. It just didn’t make any sense. We decided, that first year, to use it for midterms, but there was a lot of complaining.”

Dr. Marmor has been quite candid about the decision to keep the English Regents exam in its initial placement in January.

“Theoretically, if we wanted to put the English Regents in June, we would have four free days to instructionally work with, but we decided to leave the English Regents in January for the whole grade because it lightens the juniors’ load at the end of the year,” Dr. Marmor said. 

“Many of our juniors have a lot of Regents exams, AP exams, and college essays to [write], so we felt that moving the English Regents to January gave the juniors a little bit less to worry about for June,” Dr. Marmor added.

The initial complaints about midterms during Regents week stemmed from the fact that using the week for midterms instead of having days off was a new concept at Francis Lewis. 

“The following year, I was not willing to do nothing,” Dr. Marmor said, “The complaining about the midterms was very significant, so we basically discussed it as a team with the teachers and said it’s one or the other: either we’re going to do midterms, or we’re going to teach classes, so we elected to teach classes. That went over worse than doing the midterms.”

Classes during Regents week opened people’s eyes to how much better midterms were. English teachers like Ms. Larsen were especially affected by classes during the week. 

“I was kind of relieved because I was one of the teachers who was out grading,” Ms. Larsen said.  “It was nice to know that I didn’t have to worry about my students being here without me.”

Teachers from several departments were also thankful for the switch back to midterms, including Social Studies teacher Mr. Sutherland.

“It’s a good final way to assess how the students did for that semester, and I honestly think the Regents week is well planned and well thought-out, as opposed to just giving an in-class midterm,” Mr. Sutherland said.

Students were also supporters of the switch from a week of regular classes to midterm exams during Regents week. 

“For me, I think it’s a great opportunity to study and not be stressed when I have homework or projects during that week, as well as Regents,” junior Jennifer Hernandez said. 

Because of the evident dismay from students and teachers towards classes during Regents week, Dr. Marmor made a decision to go back to the way things were before.

“We’re doing the midterms the same way we did them two years ago, and we would have done them last year if there wasn’t an outpouring of complaints. When looking at what we had [for] three years in a row – a year of nothing, a year of midterms, and a year of classes – it was very clear to us that midterms was the right thing to do.”