Back-to-Back Jr. Prom and SAT Testing Concerns Some
School officials say they do best they can to 'avoid conflicts.'
The weekend of May 3-4 will include two important events in the lives of many Ridge High School juniors — on Friday night, the junior prom is scheduled to be held at the Bridgewater Marriott, while the next morning, Saturday, is one of the test dates set for the standardized SAT tests and SAT subject tests.
Schools Superintentendent Nick Markarian and Board of Education President Susan McGowan said that administrators at each school set that school's schedule for events.
Markarian also pointed out after the March board meeting that there are a number of opportunities to sign up for the SAT tests. Those tests included dates last December, January and in March, and on June 1 as well as May 4, according to online information from the College Board. He also indicated there were not many dates available to book a location for the prom.
Nevertheless, both were contacted by at least one set of parents of a township junior, George and Shirley Titus, who said that some other parents also were not happy with the scheduling.
"This puts both the parents and students in a very difficult position," the Titus' said in an initial email to school officials in late February "We do understand the difficulty in finding a place for the event this time of the year. However that is no reason to jeopardize the students ' academic future. For these students, junior year and these tests come by only once in their lifetime."
The Titus' said that scheduling to avoid conflicts with the important tests should be a priority of the school board and administrators. They also noted that juniors this year had to deal with many unexpected changes, including schedule changes and also the switch from midterms and finals to quarterly exams.
The Titus' said in a later email in March that their intention is to make school officials aware that students and parents are concerned about so similar does not happen again.
The parents said that all the SAT dates are important for most juniors, some of whom take the SAT test multiple times and others who must schedule SAT subject tests on a date different from the main SAT test.
"If they are taking it more than once, there is really not that many dates available to them," particularly since students must see their test scores before deciding whether to take tests again, their letters noted. "Moreover, most juniors are so busy that they may not have checked on the prom date until late last month."
Some of the students have been trying to re-arrange their SAT schedules, "which is quite stressful," the Titus' said in an email, adding that some other parents had also indicated they were not happy with the arrangement.
Shirley Titus later added that testing for Advanced Placement classes at the school also will begin on May 6.
Contacted by email, Ridge High School Principal Frank Howlett on Tuesday pointed out there always is "a conflict with something" in trying to schedule events at the high school.
Markarian said he had brought the issue to the high school's attention, and had been told that the school administrators try their best to avoid conflicts, "but it is not always possible."
McGowan said that the prom is scheduled in conjunction with a Parent Teacher Organization prom committee that plans the event. "This is not the first year the junior prom has been scheduled the evening before one of the SAT testing sessions," she said in an email this week.
Shirley Titus said in an email to Patch on Tuesday that some students who had been planning to attend the prom seem to have changed their minds because they did not want to be out late on the night before the SAT.
"I feel bad for these kids who are normally studying 24/7 and this was their chance to unwind and have some fun!" she said in the email.
She said that she hopes the board will look into the scheduling, and make sure that it does not happen in future years.