The arrival of the New Year on the calendar means that we are closing in on the end of the first semester, and that means that final exams are not far off. In fact, exams begin in less than three weeks, running from Friday, January 25, to Wednesday, January 30, followed by a PA Day on January 31 and the start of the new semester on February 1. The exam schedule has been created and can be found by scrolling to the bottom of our school web page: www.shdhs.ca. Copies of the exam schedule will be posted in the school this week. Students and parents are asked to check the exam schedule and to re-schedule any medical or dental appointments that may conflict with students’ exams. Students are reminded that they will receive a zero for any exams that they miss without a legitimate cause. In the event of illness during exams, students may be required to provide a doctor’s note to confirm the illness, and in such situations parents are asked to contact the school as soon as possible. Students are reminded also that during the exam period they are required to attend only when they have an exam to write. If they have an afternoon exam, but no exam in the morning for example, they are not required to be at school in the morning. If they choose to be at school at a time when they have no exam, then they must stay out of the areas where exams are being written – the large gym and some classrooms on the second floor. The library will be open during exams for quiet study purposes only. Should there be a snow day during the exam period, the exam schedule will be pushed back: for example, if there is a snow day on the first day of exams, those exams would be written the next day and the schedule would be pushed back by a day. We encourage students to plan ahead and make sure that they have at home any study materials they may need to prepare for exams, just in case we have bad weather at any time in the next three weeks. Students should by now be preparing for exams in order to avoid having to cram at the last minute. A small number of students will find that they have exam conflicts – two exams scheduled for the same time slot. These students should speak to our Vice-Principal, Mrs. Goetz, to find out how the conflicts will be managed. Similarly, students who are entitled to exam accommodations should speak to their classroom teachers to ensure that they know where and when they will be writing their exams. In addition to final exams, students in most classes will also be working on other kinds of final assessments over the next three weeks. These will include final projects, tests, essays, and presentations, and in a few cases, some in-class exams. It is important that students manage their time wisely to ensure that they get all of their work done to the best of their ability and still leave themselves time to study for final exams. This is particularly important for students who also have part-time jobs or are involved in activities outside of school, like hockey for example. As an added bonus, students taking Grade 9 Academic Math this semester also have the EQAO test to do in the next couple of weeks. This is a province-wide test, part of which is used as a portion of the final assessment mark for the course. In short, this is a very busy time of year for students and teachers as we work hard to finish off the first semester and get ready for the second. Hopefully, Mother Nature will cooperate by not throwing any snow days into the mix.