The bad news is that the new calendar doesn’t give students a fall break. But that is far outweighed, school officials say, with a longer break this summer, as well as longer breaks for the Thanksgiving and Christmas-New Year’s holidays.
The county Board of Education approved the new calendar at its Feb. 7. regular monthly meeting
“We did a lot of research,” superintendent of schools Denia Reese said. “We listened to parents and teachers and developed a calendar that maximizes instruction for our students. I think this is a balanced calendar, and I am very pleased with it.”
Under the new calendar, students won’t return to school until Sept. 4, which is later than usual after the summer break.
The school system postponed the start date this year to make repairs at Ringgold High and Ringgold Middle schools after a tornado in April 2011 severely damaged the schools. Reese said parents and teachers liked that de-lay.
“We heard many positive comments about the September start date (for this year),” Reese said, “so we surveyed teachers and parents to receive feedback for the 2012-13 calendar.”
After posting the survey on the system’s website, school officials received overwhelming support for the Sep-tember start date next year. Reese said 79 percent of parents and 91 percent of teachers preferred the later date.
“When I was in school we had a three-month summer break,” Reese said, “and I have heard from so many fami-lies who have really enjoyed this extended time in the summer.”
Because of the late start date, the other typical week-long breaks and holiday breaks were also re-evaluated and somewhat altered. No fall break was scheduled, but other normal break times were extended.
“Since the calendar had to be changed so late last year,” said Reese, “we maintained an October fall break be-cause we knew families had already made plans. This year we evaluated instructional time and decided to make Thanksgiving break a full week.”
The Christmas-New Year’s break is also longer.