Earlier this month the school board got a first look at the school year calendars for 2017-18 and 2018-19, which they plan to approve on Nov. 7 if they see no problems with the recommended calendars.
The calendars follow the district’s current strategy of including a spring break every other year. In this case, that will be from March 25-April 1 of the 2017-18 school year. The 2018-19 year will include two four-day weekends in lieu of spring break, one in February and one in April.
Thanksgiving break will be slightly different each year as well. On the year there is a spring break, students will have only a four-day weekend for Thanksgiving, and a five-day weekend the year there is no spring break. Winter break, however, will be the same length both years, each including 6 days off school, one full week and one day of the next week.
One other notable pattern is an early end to the school year in both calendars, one ending June 1 and the next year May 31.
“In speaking with staff, it is very difficult to engage students after Memorial Day,” said superintendent Dr. Ann-Marie Foucault. “When the weather is nice and kids have been inside for the winter months they want to venture outside. Whenever possible we try to end as close to Memorial Day as possible.”
Foucault added that sometimes other considerations complicate this goal, as was the case last school year, when school went into the second week of June.
The calendar committee put together their best recommendations for these calendars based on the following criteria: support the academic needs of the student, be in compliance with the law, take the testing schedule into account, minimize disruptions to student learning and the activities schedule, allow for professional judgment of administrators and teachers, avoid conflicts with events sponsored by community and civic organizations if possible, and incorporate different break patterns over multiple years.
Each calendar has three extra days built into the calendar for emergency schools closings. If extreme weather cancelations exceed three days, the calendar committee also designated three additional days for scheduled make-up days. For the next two years, all of these days would be added on to the end of the school year.
The school board will have the full board review the calendar at their next meeting, Nov. 7, as two members were absent Oct. 11, and they will approve it at that time if board members agree with the calendar committee’s recommendations.