By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer
Students can look forward to a more relaxing winter break and teachers are hoping for more productive class time, as the Camanche School District switches to a balanced semester calendar for the 2013-2014 school year.
The three schools will be filled with students starting Aug. 13 with the new schedule and balanced curriculum splitting the 180-day school year into two even 90-day increments, allowing high school students to tackle finals before celebrating the holidays.
“Despite what students may think, 180 days is not a lot of time, not even half the year,” Superintendent Tom Parker said. “We are looking for ways to leverage learning and be as effective as possible with the time we have.”
The Camanche School Board approved the schedule change, as opposed to a Aug. 21 start date, following a public hearing on Monday. The School Improvement Advisory Committee presented a report at a previous meeting on changing the calendar to an evenly balanced schedule, allowing high school students to take finals before winter break.
All staff present at the hearing voiced support for the new schedule.
“Speaking as a representative for the high school faculty, we highly encourage this schedule so we can get tests done and increase student retention,” English teacher Annette Blomme said. “It’s hard to have the kids come back after the break and have to pick up where they left off.”
During past discussion, Camanche Days had been brought up as a conflicting issue.
Parker met with Camanche Days board members to see how the annual festival would be affected by the change. Camanche Days is scheduled to end by Aug. 11 this summer allowing ample time for students and staff to enjoy the festivities before going back to school.
The event, which is set for the second Thursday of August each year, could be affected in future years.