Edina school district considering pre-Labor Day school start
Edina students may be entering the classroom before Labor Day in 2013.
The earlier start to the school year is due to construction in 2013 and would allow high school students five extra days to prepare for college admissions and Advanced Placement tests, Director of Human Resources and Operations Gwen Jackson told the Edina School Board on Monday, Dec. 10.
In the proposed 2013-2014 school year calendar, school for first- through 12th-graders would begin on Aug. 26, followed the next day by the first day for early childhood and kindergarteners. The last day of school for all students would be May 30. Winter break would be Dec. 23 through Jan. 3.
The proposed calendar also includes two days when students will be released two hours early and two days when students will begin two hours late.
A proposed calendar for the 2014-2015 school year would follow the same template.
The Edina School Board is expected to approve a calendar at its January meeting.
Boardmember Idith Almog clarified that the district won’t be shortening the summer break, but rather shifting the start and end days of the summer break for the next two school years. The school board is still considering comments from the public on the proposed calendar, she added.
The Calendar Committee, which includes teachers, parents and administration, considered three different calendar options for next school year’s calendar and all three include the pre-Labor Day start, Jackson said.
The district is beginning in 2013 the first year of a 10-year facilities plan to work on deferred building maintenance projects. For a district to start before Labor Day, construction must total more than $400,000, according to state statute. The Edina School District will be well over that with $10 million in construction annually for the next six years.
On the days with the late starts or early releases, the district is working to provide programming for students who need to be dropped off at the normal start time or picked up at the normal dismissal time, Jackson said.
Some school board members questioned why the district would start later and extend the winter break longer than it already is.
Jackson said a lot of residents have said they want winter break to be two weeks instead of the current one-and-a-half weeks. The committee also looked on what day of the week the New Year’s Eve Day falls and the two weeks makes sense in terms of the holiday.
The early start to the year will also allow for high school students to have more school days to prepare them for the college admissions SAT and ACT tests, which are usually taken in the spring, Jackson said.
The district is also adding five minutes to each school day starting in the 2013-2014 school year. The added time was due to the state changing the requirement from the number of days to the number of hours per school year.
Edina schools will be in session for more than the minimum hours required by the state.