GET ANSWERS: Back to School

8:17 PM, Aug 23, 2010   |    comments
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Twana e-mailed the station wondering why the date children start school seems to get earlier and earlier.

 

"Why has the school calendar changed over the years with teachers and students now having to return to school during the two hottest months of the year? And what can we (parents, teachers, concerned citizens) do to change this?" she wrote.

 

She says she worries about students heading back to class in the summer during some of the hottest months.

 

Two weeks ago, children's voices began to fill the halls at Perry Middle School after a summer of silence.

 

Houston County School Superintendent Robin Hines says they try to split the total number of classroom days in two, with about half before the winter break and the rest coming after.

"We don't want to come back and have the big break at Christmas and then have our students come back and have to prepare for final exams and take those exams after that big break," he said.

Hines says a team of school officials meet to plan the calendar looking at holidays and dates for major testing. He says in the last 10 years their start date has stayed pretty consistent.

"We have a framework that we have consistently gone by and it may seem that we're starting earlier but going back to the 2000-2001 school year we started August 10, this year we started August 9," said Hines.

William Mathews, Interim Superintendent with Jones County Schools, says the first thing they look at is how to get the most instruction days for students before major tests. Like Houston, Mathews says they work to finish a semester before finals as well.

Mathews says over the years, lengthier holidays have pushed the school start date up. He says students now have longer breaks for the fall and Thanksgiving.

As for weather and heading back to school Mathews says student would still have to attend school during a hot month even if they went back to school earlier and got out later. He says it would just shift to the end of the school year.

Officials in Monroe and Bibb County say they look at the semester split, testing dates and holidays as well.

"A Calendar Committee made up of parents, teachers, and administrators develops options for a school calendar, which in the past few years, has been for two years out," said Bibb County's Director Assessment & Accountability, Bruce Giroux in a statement.  "This gives parents and the community the opportunity to plan accordingly. During the development of the options, the committee takes early drafts to their colleagues and stakeholders for input. The committee then develops several options for the community to vote upon after considering the input.

Hines says he remembers heading back to school after labor day, but says that was a different time.

"You know things have changed and again as we've described from the days we have to take, and to try and get everything in and try to balance those semesters, it has backed the start of school up, but this is not a new thing, this has been for quite some time," he said.

If you have a question and you'd like us to get answers for you, just go back to our home page at www.13wmaz.com and click on Get Answers about halfway down the page.

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