BoE asks: When would you like school to start?

Tue, 06/20/2006 - 5:35pm
By: John Thompson

When would you like your child to start school in 2007?

That’s the question the Fayette County School Board is pondering after four school calendars were presented at Monday night’s meeting. The four options include start dates of Aug. 6, Aug. 9 and Aug. 13. Three of the calendars would end school on May 23, while one of the Aug. 13 start dates would see the school year end May 30.

State legislators have looked at starting the school year later, because of complaints by parents. Assistant Superintendent of Education Lyn Wenzel said there were only three school systems left in the state that start after Labor Day.

Superintendent of Education John DeCotis said the school system traditionally approves the calendar in February, but has waited to see what the legislature does in determining school opening dates.

“I’d like to see what the public has to say about these options,” said board member Lee Wright, who is running for reelection.

DeCotis said the only advantage in deciding the calendars now would be alerting earlier people who have to decide soon for their vacations next year.

The board decided to wait until at least August when school is back in session and students can take copies of the proposed calendars home. The system also plans to place each of the calendar options on the school system’s Web site for public comment.

School starts Aug. 7 this year.

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Submitted by mcg on Fri, 06/23/2006 - 5:37pm.

Personally, I like having the midwinter break. This past winter break we took the kids to Universal; and a couple of years ago, one of my children had their tonsils removed the last day of school before the break. Since she had to be out of school for 9 days per doctor's orders, she would have missed a lot of school if not for the mid-winter break. I think the kids benefit from the more frequent breaks, as do I. I am a stay-at-home mom, so the break doesn't inconvenience me as it does some working parents; but since the calendars always come out far in advance, parents do know when the breaks are going to be. Plus it is just so darn hot here in the summers (today for example was a level red air quality day), and the weather here in February is so mild, that it is actually more pleasant to go to the zoo or something in February, than it is in August.

Submitted by PTCMomma on Fri, 06/23/2006 - 4:56pm.

If we start school too late to finish the first sememster before Christmas, many students miss out on Early Admissions to their first choice colleges. The colleges often require 1st semester grades to be submitted by early January to be considered for Early Admissions. This issue was rectified in Fayette County when we went to our current calendar with the semester ending before the break. Don't hurt our best students by changing this.

Mom to 3, plus a few strays

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Fri, 06/23/2006 - 1:21pm.

My Son is in the 9th Grade next year. I use the week in February to either to to the Beach or the Mountains.

I've been on this calender for a while, as my Son was 3 years ago in school at Eagles Landing, and they went on something very similar about 2-3 years before that.

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Submitted by chippie on Fri, 06/23/2006 - 10:38am.

Good point made about student & teacher burn-out, so the week breaks are helpful, except for that week in February - it is a waste. Think about: school has just returned from Christmas break, and Spring Break is just around the corner.

I stongly support the later start in August with finishing the end of May, along with the elimination of the February week and those ridiculous Early Release Days! Whoever put those wasted days in the calendar should be made to work in a school office answering the phones on those days, then they need to babysit those students of working parents who have no after-school care arrangements.

Submitted by PTCMomma on Fri, 06/23/2006 - 9:57am.

Keep it like it is!!!! Early August to late May with lot's of breaks to prevent both student and teacher burnout. Far more effective according to MANY teachers that I know in Fayette County. Certainly better for my kids than it was when they were little and we had a longer summer. The 10 weeks we have now is more than plenty of time for a summer break. Plenty of time for camps, swimming, hanging out, making a little money. Few of the teens I know need a longer summer to make more money. Most of them are working for cars and car insurance that they DON'T need. And excessive spending money. The focus of the school calendar should be on what is the best learning environment for the kids, seconded by the best teaching environment for the teachers. Long summers came from our antiquated agricultural needs, so the kids could help work the farm NOT have lots of play time. Please don't go back to antiquated systems with 3 months off in the summer. 2 months are more than enough!!! Even better, knock off another two weeks in summer, and give us a month in the winter. During the month off, the schools could have a 2-week optional for those students and teachers who choose to participate. Enrichment and remedial types of things.

Mom to 3, plus a few strays

Submitted by ptcjenn on Fri, 06/23/2006 - 9:45am.

If nothing else, could you PLEASE get rid of the week off in Feb. and add it back on to summer? Those wanting to ski can take their kids out of school - missing a Friday and a Monday/Tues never hurt anyone if they're not behind to begin with, and then the rest of the county doesn't have a week of kids sitting home bored because it's cold and raining out. More summer = more pool time, more paddling in the lake, more work experience if your kids are older. I just don't understand why the summers have to be so short. Wouldn't that also help teachers trying to cram in college classes over the summer? They could take their class AND have a week or two off before going back to teaching. Who is helped by year round school?

Submitted by fcteacher on Fri, 06/23/2006 - 10:00am.

is precisely why there are so many breaks. The people that came up with the calender selections did have some data to look at, don't you know? . Give them what they want and they still aren't happy. By the way missing a Friday and Monday/Tuesday does hurt, even if you're not behind and you're a good student (those students, however, are seldom pulled out of school for vacation), but it REALLY hurts the kids that are behind and aren't at the top of the class. I would like a longer summer myself. I'm used to starting after Labor Day and ending in mid-June and Easter break falling on the week that contains Easter. Oh yea, and Columbus Day is a holiday.

Submitted by Xcheerleader on Fri, 06/23/2006 - 3:31pm.

My family always got together over Easter. Since my kids have started at Fayette County, they have never had Good Friday off. As a family, we have not been able to travel to be with family over Easter. They also started their CRCT testing, the Monday after Easter Sunday! I'd rather have Good Friday off than Columbus Day. I don't think Colombus merits his own holiday.

I'll vote for August 13th. I still think that is too early. I really would like after Labor Day. Also, I will NEVER understand why they have the little elementary kids starting school first. Let the high schoolers start school earlier so they can get off school and go get a job somewhere! Maybe that would keep some of those teens off and doing something constructive with themselves. Henry County schools are starting on July 31st this year. Their new calender does not seem to be doing their students a bit of good.

Submitted by SoCalMama on Fri, 06/23/2006 - 9:31am.

Both my children are currently enrolled in Fayette schools. When we lived in CA, my kids attended "year round" schools.....meaning: School starts after Labor Day; breaks are- 2 weeks at Thanksgiving; 4 weeks at Christmas; 2 weeks at Easter; school lets out in mid-July. It worked wonderfully for many of the families. This "Winter Break" that Fayette does in mid-February is crazy, along with heading back to school in early August. It's just one of the craziest schedules I've ever seen!

Submitted by dool_fan on Fri, 06/23/2006 - 7:43am.

NUK hit the nail on the head. Get rid of the stupid one week breaks and give the kids back there summers. Start school after Labor Day.

Submitted by Sailon on Fri, 06/23/2006 - 9:20am.

Absolutely should start first Monday after Labor day and end last of May. THAT is what nearly everyone wants for planning purposes, except the school board. Go 20 days a month, or a little less, and stop the interim interruptions for the benefit of the board and the teachers only. The kids are the customers, not the school system! Work days, etc., can be at night or week-ends. Better still, teach 12 months per year as most of the rest of the civilized world does. This of course will be ignored unless parents picket the school board.

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Submitted by nuk on Wed, 06/21/2006 - 8:14am.

How about the end of August? Think about the savings in not having to run the A/C full-blast for a few weeks, the opportunities for vacation, teachers to work second-jobs during the summer, students working somewhere, etc.

Get rid of the ridiculous one-week breaks and it's no problem to start school later but still meet the mandatory days requirement.


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