Following a long weekend, February 1 marked Andover’s 31st Head of School Day (HOSD). The four-day weekend allowed students to rest, visit family, and catch up on school work. To accommodate the three-day school week, the schedule changed accordingly. Both Wednesday and Thursday followed the regular weekly schedule, while Friday followed a Monday schedule.
To determine the date of HOSD, Head of School Dr. Raynard Kington discussed the logistics and potential difficulties with the departments and other faculty. Rajesh Mundra, Dean of Studies, explained the administration’s thought process behind the special schedule. Administration ultimately decided that extending the long weekend with HOSD would be best.
“[In previous] years, [HOSD] was [announced] the night before for the next day, it was much more of a surprise. [But], we knew that planning was going to be important this year for that. So, [the different departments] thought we would try and take advantage of the three-day weekend and extend it [so] that [it] might give students the opportunity to plan [and] go home,” said Mundra.
Some students felt that the extra day made their workload manageable because it gave them the opportunity to work ahead. Tianyi Gu ’25 commented that the homework load felt relatively normal, but also noted that his personal experience differed from that of his peers.
“It’s kind of a silver lining. When you have all six classes, generally, it’s like a really long day. It’s overwhelming in general. Personally, I think the homework wasn’t too bad, considering it was only a three day week, and we only had half of our classes on Wednesday. On Thursday, the homework load was similar to a normal week because you had four days to finish all your homework for Wednesday and Thursday. But I feel like because it was the last day of the week, it was kind of tough for some people to go to all of their classes,” said Gu.
Other students, such as Juliana Reyes ’24, felt dissatisfied with the school’s planning of the week, explaining that it made HOSD more stressful than relaxing. She added that the schedule greatly increased her workload and stress level, something she thinks could have been avoided with a more cohesive schedule.
Reyes said, “With not having school on Monday and Tuesday, you develop a relaxation mindset. When having the regular Wednesday, Thursday schedule, you have a simpler shift into having classes. But then, having back to back Monday schedules [gives you] a lot of homework. Instead of having the designated time for each period, you have all of your classes’ homework due on Friday. On Monday, you have even more homework from all of the classes as well. It’s just harder to manage your time because instead of five singular assignments, it’s double.”
Carl Sangree, Instructor in Chemistry, thought that while students were stressed, they seemed to handle the schedule well. Sangree emphasized that meeting with every section allowed teachers to check-in with students and make sure that everyone was understanding the material.
“I teach multiple sections of the same class, so [since] they all met on Friday, I was able to make sure they’re all on the same page. I also just liked seeing everyone and being able to do a quick check-in on all my sections,” said Sangree.
While some students wished that the schedule on Friday was entirely revised, Brooklyn Regan ’22 hoped for some adjustments over a completely new schedule. Regan felt that the mandatory advising period scheduled into the conference block gave students even less free time than usual.
Regan said, “On Monday schedules, there’s already so little free time. Having that break before third period is always really nice. I had advising and it just felt very ‘go, go go.’ And there wasn’t a free period until lunch so it was from 8:30 to 1:10 – there [were] no breaks in between. So I probably would have preferred to have conference than advising.”
While some students commented that the point of HOSD felt dulled by the extra haul of work, Venkat Sundaram ’23 disagreed. He noted that even with a lot of work, the schedule change did not take away from the purpose of HOSD.
“I definitely think it makes it tougher because the Head of School Day is normally a time to relax, and when you’re relaxing, it’s difficult to focus on work. So it made me cram my work in the last couple of days. But I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it takes away the point of the Head of School Day,” said Sundaram.