At last week’s regular District 55 school board meeting on Monday, May 23, the board approved a modified calendar. Children would begin the school year earlier in August, but be given a two week fall break between the first and second nine weeks, standard Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, then a two-week spring break between the third and fourth nine weeks.
The Clinton District 56 school board met on the same night for its regular board meeting and passed first reading on the same modified calendar.
“I brought the calendar up for first reading only because I wanted to be transparent. I didn’t want anyone to think we are doing things on the sly as we considered the change,” said District 56 Superintendent David O’Shields. “The board voted 6-1 in favor of the first reading but asked us to solicit parent input before a final decision is given in June.”
Typically first readings are not required except for budget approval, O’Shields said.
“We want to make sure people knew we were being honest and give parents a chance to provide input,” O’Shields said. “We sent a letter home with every child at the end of the school year and it includes an email link. Anyone can respond anonymously to the questions because the return emails are truncated so they are anonymous. And if someone wants to talk to me about it they can include their contact information.”
O’Shields said the district was considering the plan in concert with District 55 like it always does, and various time tables made it work especially well for the 23/24 year.
It still provides eight full weeks of summer vacation before students return Aug. 1, 2023, unlike year round school which includes some schooling in every month.
“We are trying to be as honest and open as possible,” O’Shields said.
Parents can find the letter on District 56 website’s home page under “Attention: Parents, Community and Stakeholders.” The letter includes detailed information, and then the parents, faculty or community members can then send responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This way everyone has the information. They have the standard 180 days, and incentives to enjoy the longer holidays,” O’Shields said. “Or during the course of these breaks students can make up some of their work.”