At the regularly scheduled Worthington Board of Education Meeting on Monday, October 13th the board will be asked to review the proposed 2015-2016 school calendar. This will only be a first reading of the calendar. Over the month of October community feedback will be solicited and the Board of Education will be asked to vote for the final calendar at the November 12th meeting. The calendar that is being proposed is “Option B” of the three options that were created for staff and community input.
Creating the school year calendar is a difficult process that attempts to serve many different masters. How much time in school will students have before state mandated testing? Are the first and second semesters as close to even as possible so that semester classes at the high school receive equal instructional time? Can we create a calendar that allows high school final exams to be held before winter break so that students don’t have to study and stress over the holidays? Can we schedule to same spring break as Ohio State and still end a quarter with spring break? How can we minimize disruptions for families and create blocks of time for families to be together? These are only some of the questions that we attempt to answer.
Our community has strong feelings about when school starts and ends. Many parents of elementary students would like to see school begin later in August and go into June. The challenge with this is creating enough instructional time before state assessments. Many high school parents are more concerned with even semesters and finals occurring before winter break. In order for this to happen school must begin earlier.
In the three calendar options that were presented “Option C” began school on August 12th. Elementary parents have almost a visceral negative reaction to this. But this is the start date some of our surrounding districts have gone to because it creates even semesters and ends those even semesters at the winter holiday break. Our recommendation of “Option B” is a compromise position. It begins school a week later but does offset the semester days. Finals will still occur before the holiday break but it does create an additional challenge for high school students learning the semester material in a condensed period of time. (The difference between Option A and Option B were how finals would be structured for high school students second semester. There was some thought that taking a few finals on Friday would be an advantage because a student could study for two, and then have the weekend to focus on the next two or three finals. In the end, Option B has a straight three day finals period.)
There is no calendar that works for everyone. We believe this calendar is a good instructional calendar that will serve Worthington students well. Here are some additional facts about the calendar that is being proposed:
In developing the school year calendar the goal was to create a calendar that:
- Provides Worthington students the best opportunity to grow and achieve
- Has consistent instructional blocks of time
- Has as many five day weeks as possible
- Is free from late-starts and early-releases to increase consistency
- Works with the state testing calendar
- Meets community expectations for schooling in Worthington
- The First Day of School is Wednesday August 19th
- Winter Holiday is a full two weeks beginning Friday December 18th. Students return Monday January 4th
- Spring Break is March 18th – March 25th
- The Last Day of School is Wednesday May 25th
-Trent Bowers, Assistant Superintendent