School calendar revised; 2013-14 tentative calendar approved

Posted April 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Students in Clinton County schools will be in classes a little bit longer than originally called for in the 2012-13 school calendar. However, by only a few days, as students locally were more fortunate that many other areas that had to miss more school days due to illness and/or inclement weather this past winter.

Clinton County Board of Education voted Monday night to amend this year’s calendar by a few days to make up for only about five days missed thus far.

The last day for students–which will be a full day–will be Monday, May 20, with closing day for faculty only the following day, May 21.

Clinton County High School graduation has also been moved up by one week, to Friday, May 24, meaning students will be out of school before Memorial Day and well ahead of the month of June.

Some other dates announced by the board, pertaining to this year, is that Prom Night will be Saturday, May 4 and kindergarten graduation at the Early Childhood Center will take place on Thursday, May 16. Due to the size of the ECC, coupled with the high number of Kindergarten students enrolled this year, the kindergarten graduation ceremonies will take place in two groups.

One kindergarten graduation ceremony will begin at 5:00 p.m., followed by the second getting underway at 6:30 p.m.

The board also voted to approve the tentative 2013-14 school year calendar, which is similar in most ways to the current and past years, but vastly different in a couple of areas, according to both Superintendent Charlotte Bernard and Director of Pupil Personnel Julie York.

The opening day for students is scheduled for Tuesday, August 6, with the closing day–with no missed school days–being May 8. The standard holiday and fall and spring breaks as well as professional days are included. Also, school will be dismissed again for three days around Thanksgiving, including the Wednesday prior to that holiday.

The one major change in next year’s calendar will be what is called, “Early Release Day,” once per month, for eight total months.

The last Wednesday of the month in which there is school, with the exception of December where Christmas break will be ongoing, students will only attend classes a half-day.

York noted that several school districts are now using the Early Release Days, some up to twice per month, and it has worked well in most districts she has been in contact with about the new system.

Superintendent Bernard also noted the second half of the school day could and would be used in various ways, including faculty planning time, setting up parent conferences and so forth.

Also, in situations where daycare is needed and some students may have to stay at school the entire day, there will always be faculty and adults around and daycare services provided.

Both Bernard and York also noted the new system may have its advantages in some ways for parents as well as students. For example, since the Early Release Day for each month will be known in advance, parents could schedule doctor appointments, etc. for their child on those days without having the child to miss part or all of a school day.

Supt. Bernard also noted that the half-days, especially during the second semester, could revert back to full days and used to make up time missed for weather or illness during the school year. York also noted that no required instructional time would be missed with the new Early Release Days being in place.

The reason for adding the half-day in the middle of the week, according to school officials, is because at mid-week there is still a sense of work mentality as opposed to a Friday, when people begin looking to the weekend off.

Board member Kevin Marcum said some parents have voiced a little skepticism about the half-day off once per month idea, but were willing to “give it a try” and see how it works out. York also noted that the new Early Release Day was not “set in stone” for the district and if it didn’t work, could be changed at any time, either after the school year or anytime during the year.

The following are the dates (all on Wednesdays) for Early Release Days where students will only attend a half-day of classes: August 28; September 25; October 30; November 20; January 29; February 26; March 26; and April 30.

Another change with the 2013-14 school year will be school start times and bus-to-school scheduling.

Schools will begin classes later in the mornings and will get out of class about the same times in the afternoon as this year, again without any student instructional time being missed.

Start time at each school next year is scheduled as follows: Clinton County Middle School, 7:50 a.m.; Clinton County High School, 8 a.m.; Albany Elementary and Early Childhood Center, 8:10 a.m. Bus scheduling will run accordingly with the next start times.

It is hoped by school officials that the later starts will be have a positive effect, including on tardiness of students in some cases. Some students currently get on buses in the mornings as early as 5:30 to 5:45 a.m. and the somewhat later classroom start time may help students be better able to get to school on time.

It also noted that all schools would be open at 7 a.m. each morning for students who had to be dropped off early.

Finally, there will be a different bus route for drop-off and pick-up per school to cut out buses having to “back track” from one school to another.

Bus drop-off and pick-ups will begin at the middle school, proceed to the high school and end at Albany Elementary. (The ECC runs their own buses.) According to board member Junior Cecil, the new system of one basic direct route will also help save on the cost of fuel for running the buses over time.

Supt. Bernard noted that the new school calendar and related information would be posted on the school district’s web page and would also be available for parents to pick up and review at the Central Office and front offices of each school.

York noted the calendar for the next school year still has to be approved by the Kentucky Department of Education, which should be a basic formality. Also, a more detailed look at the 2013-14 calendar will be published in its entirety prior to the start of the next school year later this summer.