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Early start, end on tap for 2013-14 school year
by By LOUISE R. SHAW
Nov 29, 2012 | 4411 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

FARMINGTON - The calendar proposed for the 2013-14 school year in Davis School District reflects both an earlier start and an earlier finish than the current school year’s schedule. It also includes a shorter spring recess.

District officials recommend that school for students on the traditional calendar begin on Aug. 26, 2013, a week before Labor Day, and end on May 30, 2014, four days after Memorial Day. 

Spring recess would begin Friday, March 28, 2014 and students would also have Monday and Tuesday, March 31 and April 1, off. For teachers, March 28 is listed as a professional day and March 31 as a teacher comp day. 

Other dates listed for the proposed calendar are Oct. 17 and 18 for fall recess, Nov. 27 to 29 for Thanksgiving recess, and Dec. 23, 2013 through Jan. 1, 2014, will be off for winter recess, in addition to national holidays.

There are many factors to consider when selecting dates for the calendar year, said Chase Rogers, director of planning for the district.

In addressing members of the Davis School Board at a workshop on Nov. 20, Rogers said planners first look at the dates that the Dee Events Center on Weber State’s campus is available for graduations. From there, they move backward through the year to determine schedules. 

Other considerations are the dates of AP tests because district leaders want to ensure that teachers have adequate time to prepare their students.

The lack of air conditioning in some schools is also a factor, and the start of summer jobs is another. 

A committee of 25 individuals began meeting in October and reviewed six different options. 

Committee members included teachers, parents, support staff, custodians, school directors and a representative from Davis Applied Technology College, which links its calendar to the Davis School District calendar.

The options were narrowed to three and publicized for input from the community, which has been received over the past few weeks.

“We do a lot to involve our patrons,” Rogers told board members. “We go to a lot more effort than any other district, but I don’t think it’s wasted effort.”

Comments from 3,000 individuals Р triple the response of prior years Р were considered before determining the best dates, said Rogers.

All responses were provided for the board’s review. Many of those responding expressed conflicting viewpoints.

The public is split on the length of spring break, Rogers told the board, with half preferring a week-long break, the other half wanting it shorter. The break in the current year is a full week. The break for 2013-14 is two days shorter but wraps around a weekend. 

Rogers gave detailed information on the proposed calendar at the Tuesday workshop and the calendar was presented for a first reading during the Davis School Board meeting later that afternoon. The calendar is on the agenda for a second reading and final vote on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at the board meeting scheduled at Clearfield High at 5:30 p.m.

There was unusual consensus among members of the committee that the option as now outlined will best serve the community, said Rogers.

The schedule includes 178 educational days and two teacher comp days, which generally follow parent-teacher conferences to compensate for overtime. 

The Utah legislature allowed school districts to cut two extra educational days from the 2012-13 calendar to give teachers additional training time to learn about the core curriculum the state is adopting. That one-time exception allowed the district to delay the start of school in 2012 to after Labor Day.

That is very rare, said Rogers, who couldn’t remember it happening before in his 20 years at the district. Because Labor Day is a floating holiday, he said the start after the holiday would often put the end of school into June.

“There is universal support for the one we are recommending,” said Rogers. “What we try to do is come up with the best calendar educationally.” 

 

lshaw@davisclipper.com

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