The Standard Journal

BOE approves calendar Schedule created by teachers for 2017-18 school year

- By Kevin Myrick Editor

The teachers have voted, and now the school board has too on a calendar for Polk School District’s upcoming year in the classroom.

Students will be returning to school for the 2017-18 calendar year on Aug. 8 and will be getting off for the following summer on May 25, 2018 as board members voted 5-1 to approve.

In January, the new teacher leadership team broke off into three groups to discuss the potential cal- endars for the year, offering up the options to faculty districtwi­de to vote on for the coming year.

Option 1 was the one which garnered the most votes across the school system out of the three with 413 votes, versus the 151 votes for calendar 2 and 170 votes for calendar 3.

Board member Hal Floyd had one big problem with the calendar, wondering why spring break wasn’t connected to Good Friday in April 2018, which would have put the break starting on April 2 through April 6, rather than having it as it now stands on April 9 through April 13.

The major difference in the school calendar for 2017-18 will be the eliminatio­n of the fall break at the end of the first nine weeks, giving students instead three days off from Oct. 11 through Oct. 13 and using the other days during the Thanksgivi­ng break, giving students the entire week off for the holiday.

Students also get two full weeks of break during the winter holidays which officially starts on Christmas Day, Dec. 25 following the last day of school for the semester on Dec. 22. School won’t come back into session until Jan. 8.

Polk School District Superinten­dent Darrell Wetheringt­on said that the developmen­t of the 2017-18 school calendar was left completely up to the teacher leadership team, which were given informatio­n about how many days students were required to be in school and the spring testing schedule before they came up with the calendar options.

Floyd voted against the calendar during the school board’s work session on Feb. 7 because he felt not letting students out during a time connected to Good Friday was a disruption.

“For me personally, I think that would have been a better option to tie Good Friday and Spring Break together, and have one time to let the kids get back into the groove of things,” Floyd said. “I also understand that the last full week of April is the test week, and had they done that it would have given two full weeks prior to test week. I’m saying that one is obviously the best of the three, they obviously had the majority of the vote.

“But had they attached Spring Break to Good Friday, it would have been a better option.”

School board members also voted to continue using Suntrust and Southcrest banks for their financial needs, but McCrickard announced before the motion passed that he was recusing himself from the vote in order to prevent any conflict of interest, since his wife works for one of the firms.

Board members also got to hear from the head of the Polk Family Connection­s about their plan to continue to push for an increase in the reading level of students in Polk County.

Rhonda Heuer told board members the hopes of the organizati­on in partnershi­p with the school board is to get each child up to a third grade reading level by age 8, which she reported has become much easier with the advent of iPads and reading apps in local classrooms.

With more access to reading materials online than previously being able to access before, Polk Family Connection’s goal is to get the reading levels up to the average for each student in the county by 2020.

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