The bi-annual high school rite of passage is nearly upon us: Exam Week is December 14th -18th. I want to share why we do exams normally and how we’ve altered our plans a bit this year.  

Exams are an essential aspect of preparation for college. From synthesizing large chunks of material to sitting for a two-hour test, exams mirror the experience our students will go on to have in college courses. St. Francis students take exams seven times (at the end of every semester except their final one) and of course, many also take AP exams in their junior or senior years. Another reason we have exams is to help students learn to cope with academic pressure and so we offer stress reducers like the Brain Food Buffet, daily “therapy pets,” and invitations to the Zen Zone set up in the counseling hallway.

This year, having had an odd and stressful semester, we wanted to keep some essential elements of exams but dial down the pressure, since we know that the pandemic and remote learning have already caused students a good deal of stress and we can’t provide the normal exam week offerings to help them cope. As well, students taking exams at home requires some modification (open-note, etc.). So we decided to have “regular” on-demand exams in some courses and take-home exams or projects in others. We are keeping the normal rhythm of one day per academic department, and whether it’s an exam day or submission of a project, students will have an appointed time to be online with teachers. We are focusing this semester on holding students accountable for deadlines and enabling them to show mastery of material in a variety of ways. In short, we are endeavoring to continue doing what is needed to prepare them for the academic demands of college, while also responding appropriately to the realities of 2020.  

The schedule is below and has been shared several times with the students. Teachers will be following up in class to explain details in the coming days. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to them or me if you have any questions!

Monday, December 14th – Science


  • 9:00 a.m. – Biology, AP Biology, AP Physics
  • 1:00 p.m. – Physics, Chemistry

Tuesday, December 15th – English

Projects due at time of check-in

  • English I check-in – Period 1: 12:00 p.m., Period 2: 12:30 p.m., Period 7: 1:00 p.m.
  • English II check-in – Period 1: 12:00 p.m., Period 2: 12:30 p.m., Period 6: 1:00 p.m., Period 7: 1:30 p.m.
  • English III check-in – Period 2: 12:00 p.m., Period 3: 12:30 p.m., Period 7: 1:00 p.m.
  • English IV and AP English check-ins – 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, December 16th – Math


  • 9:00 a.m. – AP Calculus, Precalculus, AP Computer Science Principles
  • 1:00 p.m. –  AP Statistics

Projects due at time of check-in

  • Algebra I check-in – Period 1: 1:00 p.m., Period 3: 1:30 p.m.
  • Geometry check-in – Period 1: 12:00 p.m., Period 6: 12:30 p.m., Period 7: 1:00 p.m.
  • Algebra II check-in – Period 3: 9:00 a.m., Period 4: 9:30 a.m., Period 6: 10:00 a.m.
  • FST check-in – 1:30 p.m.

Thursday, December 17th – History


  • 9:00 a.m. – Culture & Civ Ancient, Culture & Civ Medieval, US History
  • 1:00 p.m. – AP European History, AP US History 

Friday, December 18th – World Language 


  • 9:00 a.m. –  AP Spanish Language, AP Spanish Literature, AP French Language
  • 12:00 p.m. – French IV

Oral exams and/or presentations


  •  9:00 a.m. – Spanish II, Period 7
  • 10:00 a.m. – Spanish II, Period 2
  • 11:00 a.m. – Spanish III
  • 12:00 p.m. – Spanish I, Period 3
  • 1:00 p.m. – Spanish I, Period 6


  • 2:00 p.m. – French II 


  • 9:00 a.m. – Chinese III/IV
  • 10:00 a.m. – Chinese II
  • 11:00 a.m. – Chinese I