Different school districts have different ways of determining their yearly calendar. Now, those of you who read this and have nothing to do with education, please understand that the school calendar rules the world and so it is a big huge deal in the districts. You may have thought we all had the same calendar, HAH. You are wrong. Some districts decide the calendar by committee; some by management; and there are a few who have a combination of sorts, even allowing all employees to vote. How do I know this? I am on the calendar committee for my district and was told these facts at last week’s meeting.
How did I get to be on the calendar committee? Someone at my school (secondary) was chosen by the principal but could not go, and since I had served on the committee a number of years back, I volunteered to do it again, especially since I thought the last few calendars were pretty poorly done. There is a variety of people on this committee–elementary, secondary, cafeteria, classified, transportation, a few principals, fiscal services, parents, students.
On my first time, the committee was small enough to meet around a conference table. Last year, the meetings were held in the board room. It had grown to a huge number, maybe 50, and it was very unwieldy. We met about 5 times and the consensus was to recommend a calendar with a mid-August start date, end the first semester at Christmas break, take a week for Thanksgiving and three weeks for Christmas, ending the school year on June 11. I was happy for ending the semester at Christmas break (a concession to the secondary teachers), but I didn’t like the three weeks for Christmas ( concession to our parents who take their kids to Mexico for holiday). I thought it was too long for kids to be away from school.
Last week’s meeting changed my mind. It was the first week of school after that long break and I heard from elementary and middle school teachers, principals, and parents who said their kids came back to school energized, excited, and well behaved. They wanted to return to school. Made me think about the behavior of our students for two and half hours on the field while the bomb squad dismantled what was thought to be a bomb in the boy’s restroom. Because they had been away from the drama of school and their friends for so long, there were no problems with fighting or attempting to jump the fence. Just like the younger kids, the high school kids were ready to be back too. So, I voted for three weeks at Christmas.
The school board will now take our recommendations and vote for the calendar for the next two years.