A decision on the start date for the 2013-2014 school year has been pushed back to January after officials learned an earlier-than-usual first day may not be necessary.
Superintendent Lu Young had told the Jessamine County Board of Education at its November meeting that the recommended start date of Aug. 8 was needed to get the entirety of the fall semester — including end-of-course assessments for high-school courses — in before the two-week winter break. But Young said at Monday’s work session that the high schools may already be able to give all end-of-course assessments before the break with the current calendar.
Some board members said they knew that was the case this school year; Young said she wanted to make sure that practice was possible and let the board know at Monday’s board meeting. A final decision on the calendar would not come until January.
“Evidently, whether we end the semester before Christmas or not, they can do end-or-course exams before Christmas, which I would think, educationally, would be the optimal time to do that,” Young said. “But I’m going to double-check that before Monday and make sure that’s the case.”
The administration had put forth two calendar options in November — starting school Aug. 8 with the traditional week-long fall break or beginning school Monday, Aug. 12, with a shortened fall break. Young gathered feedback on the plans from teachers, who resoundingly favored keeping the week-long fall break and many of whom voiced opposition to an early start and a five-day first week of school.
“Everybody wants their cake and to eat it too; they don’t want to start earlier, but they want the fall break and they want to get out by Memorial Day and then want the semester to end at Christmas,” Young said. “I’m not making fun — that’s just human nature; they want it all.”
Young said there was very little response from teachers about the end-of-course-assessment issue and that it in fact appeared to be a non-issue for the high schools. She said the only real concern related to the number of days before winter break came from middle-school teachers who taught identical courses in fall and spring and wanted balanced semesters.
The board will likely see a recommended calendar in January that looks very similar to the current year’s calendar, with a possible start date of Wednesday, Aug. 14, and fall break from Oct. 7-11. Young said the recommendation would likely include the same winter break dates of Dec. 21 to Jan. 5; she only received one teacher response opposed to the later-than-usual winter break.
The December meeting of the board of education is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday. The board could have a special meeting to set the calendar at its January work session but otherwise would address the issue at its regular meeting Jan. 28, 2013.