With the Advanced Placement (AP) season coming a month after Tiyulim Week, the week of April 8th this year, many students in AP classes are raising complaints about their inability to use Tiyulim week to study for their AP tests.
Classes like the AP United States History (APUSH) class have talked to their teacher, for example, APUSH teacher and Assistant Principal Ms. Francine Landau, about the possibility of having a Tiyul devoted to studying for the AP test. However, all these requests have been declined to this point by the faculty and administration in charge of planning Tiyulim Week.
Instead of allowing students to use the week to do specific, beneficial studying for their AP classes and tests, students are being restricted to Tiyulim like hiking, surfing and cooking. Some students are openly critical about the issue of not being allowed to use Tiyulim week to prepare for important tests and finals.
Students and teachers in almost every AP express the common sentiment that there should be more time to work on preparations and helpful activities.
Noah Wallace ’14, in both AP Calculus AB and AP World History, said “The rigor of AP classes renders the class in need of as much review as is possible. Presuming the administration wants to see its students excel on AP tests, this doesn’t make much sense to me.”
Considering all the time lost to the Jewish holidays in the beginning of the year combined with teacher workdays and secular holidays, like Thanksgiving, some students believe that taking that extra week to study would compensate for all the lost time.
Gabriel Kachuck ’14, said that “extra curriculars are important, experiential learning is important, but because Milken misses so many classes … AP classes don’t really have enough time to cover all the material, and who wouldn’t want to spend an extra week with Mr. Ahad?”
In addition to giving students the extra time to prepare for their upcoming AP tests, having study sessions at Milken would be a much better use of students’ money. The cost of doing a study session Tiyul at Milken would just be for food, according to one anonymous AP teacher, thus saving students anywhere between 50 to 2000 dollars.
An anonymous AP student said, “Considering the academic benefits and cost savings, an AP Tiyul could be very beneficial. It seems unreasonable to not have the option.”
Teachers and administration have said numerous times that the point of Tiyulim week is to take a week to do unorthodox learning outside of the classroom environment and to reap the benefits of an extra week away from school stresses.
Gavriella Bernat-Kunin ‘13, said “I think that what makes Milken unique is that it holds a balance of academics, Judaism, and community building. By having Tiyulim week, students can experience a learning that happens outside the classroom. Furthermore, most Tiyulim end early enough in the day to give students time to study on their own.”
According to Assistant Principal Mr. Beau Lindsay, “What happens outside the class at Milken is equally important to what happens within; therefore, experiential learning is a crucial component to the development of a Milken student.”
Faculty members are sticking by the mindset that Tiyulim week is not just an extra week of vacation, but a week of real, experiential learning. Although it is not a typical week of school, absences will still be treated as unexcused absences.
In a class meeting with the juniors on March 5th, Dr. Roger Fuller, Upper School Principal, gave an ultimatum. Students who will not show up to Tiyulim Week will be missing enough school time to result in automatically failing a class. Fuller said that people who are considering just not coming to Tiyulim week should come talk to him, and discuss the possibilities of failing a class.
However, not everyone is all that concerned about the restrictions on Tiyulim week to study for APs, search for colleges, or extra vacation as opposed to partaking in the experiential learning faculty and students have planned.
Jamie Port ‘13, said “I think if people want to benefit from doing an AP study tiyul, then they should have the option; however, it shouldn’t be mandatory for the people who don’t want to do it.”
Fuller also stressed that Tiyulim presents great opportunities for experiential learning, and that due to calendar limitations will not be held next year. However, faculty in charge of Tiyulim week, especially Mr. Pavel Lieb, biology teacher, have said that while there will not be a Tiyulim week next year due to Pesach scheduling, in future years, the topic of AP Tiyulim will not even be talked about. It will not be discussed and will not be an option in the foreseeable future.