(Posted March 14, 2019)
By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer
Setting a school year calendar requires juggling student, staff and district needs. For Jefferson Local Schools, the process is relatively problem-free.
The district’s calendar committee is comprised of certified and classified staff, administrators, a curriculum coordinator and the superintendent.
While many districts struggle with balancing testing schedules, in-service requirements and holiday breaks, school board President David Harper said, locally, “There haven’t been any issues in 16 years. We work well together.”
This year, the committee held their first meeting in late February and wrapped up their work in time to present a recommendation for the 2019-20 calendar for approval at the March 11 school board meeting.
The first day of school for students is Aug. 21. Thanksgiving break is Nov. 27-29, followed by winter break starting Dec. 23. Classes resume on Jan. 7. Spring break in 2020 runs March 23-27. The last day for students is May 29.
“In establishing a calendar, we also have to take into account teacher work days, professional development days and testing schedules,” Harper said. “There are a lot of student needs and teacher needs we have to consider, along with holidays and breaks.
“Historically, we try to start school before Labor Day and out by Memorial Day,” he continued. Next year, Memorial Day is on May 25.
In addition to setting a firm schedule, Harper said committee members keep in mind that weather can impact school days. They think about which days, such as spring break, can be used as make-up days.
During special presentations, middle school Principal Debbie Omen reported on a computer-based language arts pilot program—Study Sync—that started in January and focuses on non-fiction reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary and current events.
“The beauty of Study Sync is that it is matched to the standards,” said Omen, adding that the program meets expectations across all middle school grade levels. “It provides so much more for the entire spectrum of student needs.
“Teachers have resources at their fingertips. Teachers don’t have to find things on their own or build them on their own. There’s so much in this program. It’s like one-stop shopping.”