Draft school calendar is similar to this year's

Posted: Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Next school year would start Wednesday, Aug. 24, and end Friday, June 2, under a proposed calendar the Juneau School Board is considering.

Kindergartners would begin school Monday, Aug. 29.

The proposal - produced by a committee of administrators, staff member and parents - is similar to this school year's calendar.

The proposed calendar sets the parent conferences for elementary and secondary schools to largely overlap, a parent preference, said district officials.

For the first time, the calendar recognizes Veterans Day as a school holiday, at the request of a number of veterans. Alaska Day, on Oct. 18, will not be a school holiday. But students will have Friday, Oct. 21, off because it is a day for teacher training.

School Board member Andi Story said many parents have Alaska Day off from work and it would be more convenient if students had the same day off.

Winter break, including weekends, will run from Dec. 17 to Jan. 3. Spring break will be from March 25 to April 2.

School Board member Bill Peters said some people are concerned that spring break falls just before the state high school exit exam, giving Juneau-Douglas High School no time to prepare the students immediately before the tests.

Schools Superintendent Peggy Cowan said the calendar committee was torn on whether the break would leave students rested or tired.

Also, the committee set spring break to be responsive to JDHS teachers who didn't want it to occur a week before the end of the third quarter, as it does this year. Under the proposal, spring break falls after the quarter ends.

Peters also said that winter break, at 18 days with the weekends, was very long.

Peters suggested that winter break be shortened so the school year could end before Memorial Day. In the proposal, students return to school for four days after Memorial Day.

Story also asked the administration to consider a more graduated start to the school year, with successive weeks of three, four and five days of school.

The School Board is scheduled to approve calendar at its Jan. 18 meeting.

• Eric Fry can be reached at eric.fry@juneauempire.com.

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