The school year could start earlier than usual in 2013 as district officials try to avoid having a two-week break right before high-stakes testing.
The Jessamine County Board of Education saw a draft calendar for the 2013-2014 school year with a start date of Aug. 8, 2013, at its work session Monday night. The board is expected to make a final decision Dec. 17 between that proposal and one that would start school five days later and cut two days off fall break.
Superintendent Lu Young told the board Monday that the calendar committee had drafted an early start date to get the entirety of the fall semester in before winter break. In years past, the semester has ended in January, but end-of-course assessments in high school that must occur at the end of the semester are now part of the state’s new accountability system.
Board members were not keen on the idea of starting school as early as Aug. 8 but appreciated the value of getting the end-of-course assessments in before Christmas break. Board member Hallie Bandy said she would prefer starting school Monday, Aug. 12, and shortening the traditionally week-long fall break by a couple days instead of starting Thursday, Aug. 8.
Young said teachers tend to appreciate starting near the middle of the week so they can make adjustments for new students over the weekend after a couple days of school.
The other major change in the draft from previous calendars was a shifting of winter break, moving the two-week hiatus a few days back from its traditional spot. Students would be in school through Dec. 20, 2012, and would return after the break Jan. 6, 2013.
Fall break is Oct. 7-11 in the draft calendar; spring break would be from March 31 to April 4. The calendar includes five early-release days — all on the last Wednesdays of months in the draft — for professional development.
Young said she would bring back the original recommendation as well as an option to start Aug. 12 and cut fall break and the board would make a decision at its Dec. 17 meeting.