The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 24, 2013

District to study altering school year

By Katie Dahlstrom Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — Clinton School District students could arrive for their first day of school in 2015 to find shorter breaks spread more evenly throughout the school year.

The Clinton School Board agreed during its meeting Monday to form an ad-hoc committee to study whether a balanced calendar would benefit the students and be good for the community.

“The students would basically have the same number of weeks off, it would just be determined differently so that there wouldn’t be these huge breaks in the summertime and looking at summer loss of learning,” Superintendent Deb Olson said.

Under a balanced calendar school year, students would have a shorter summer break with those days being allocated to other breaks throughout the year. Olson laid out a lengthy timeline for the balanced calendar’s viability to be studied.

“I’m not saying that this is one way or the other, but I do think this is a good thing to look at at this point in time simply because if this is something the district wants to do or move forward with it, now would be the time to do it when there’s time to study it and prepare for it.”

The ad-hoc committee would consist of teachers from all schools, administrators on every level as well as district administration. This group would perform an instructional staff study from August to December of this year and come back to the school board with a recommendation in January 2014.

If the recommendation was not to move ahead, the discussion would not move forward. However, if ad-hoc committee members recommended the study move ahead, students, parents and community input would be sought.

Information from these community stakeholders would be gathered from January to April 2014, with a recommendation coming to the board at the end of that period.

Again, if the notion was not to move forward, the item would be no more. If the recommendation to move ahead came forward, planning would begin during the 2014-2015 school year with all school implementation scheduled for the 2015-2016 school year. Olson explained that many other districts have considered and adopted a balanced calendar. She said it might make sense for the district, but it also might not, with the ad-hoc committee in place to test these suspicions.

Board President Gregg Obren stated the idea should at least be investigated to see if it is the best thing for the Clinton School District.

“I think from just a big picture point of view, we need to be looking at everything,” Obren said. “If we come back and say ‘nope, this ain’t it, no.’ Then that’s it. But if we didn’t look at it, we can’t come back and say ‘no it’s night right.’”

The committee formation was approved 5-0 with members Jack Wenzel and Missey Sullivan-Pope absent.