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Flagler Schools Will Start Earlier, On Aug. 16, End June 8, As District Sets 2012-13 Calendar

| February 8, 2012

The Griswolds may complain that their vacation is being cut short.

Flagler County schools will begin four days earlier in August next school year–if you bother sending your children to school on a first day of school that falls on Thursday, August 16. The school year will end on Thursday, June 6, for students (a half day), and June 7 for faculty. (See the full, printable calendar below.)

This school year, the first day was on Monday, Aug. 22, the last day will be on June 6 for students and June 7 for faculty.

The Flagler County School Board adopted the 2011-12 school calendar on Tuesday evening. Other than the half week created at the very beginning of the school year, the calendar also keeps half weeks on either side of the Christmas break, as it did this year (when Wednesday, Dec. 21, was a half day, with school not resuming until Thursday, Jan. 5).

Teachers will report on Aug. 13.

But the calendar also keeps Thanksgiving week as a whole week off. There had been proposals to shorten the week, though for the past three years Thanksgiving week was kept whole (as a week off). Proposals to alter the recent tradition were criticized enough that they were shelved.

“If we all of a sudden change that, we know that student attendance is going to be low on those days,” Katie Hansen, who heads the Flagler County Education Association, the teachers union, told the school board, “and we don’t want to waste instructional days, we don’t want to have days where we’re filling it with fluff.”

Spring break will run from Monday, March 25 through Monday, April 1 for students, but April 1 will be a professional development day for faculty, which means they have to report to school.

Students will also be off on Sept. 3, Feb. 18 and May 27 for holidays, and on Sept. 27, Sept. 28, Oct. 26, Jan. 18, Feb. 19 and April 1. Students are off on those days to enable “professional development” or teacher planning days for faculty. Faculty members are not off on those days.

andy dance flagler county school board

Andy Dance (© FlaglerLive)

Andy Dance, the school board member, acknowledged the criticism about the half weeks at either ends of the Christmas break, but explained it this way: “The explanation is, we’re working our way backwards from the 2nd [of January]. End-of-course exams start on the 7th and work for another 10 days, so we want the kids to be back in school as early as possible after the winter break. If we bring them back after the 2nd they have more preparation time for the end-of-course exams. If we move that break to the end of the first week of January we’re limiting the number of days for those kids to prepare for end-of-course exams. So as we go back into the public and explain the half-week before Christmas and coming back the half week after New Year’s, that’s the rationale. A little bit of give and take in there. Nobody really likes those split weeks, but in those instances, for the benefit of the testing, that’s the way it worked out.”

In all, students will have 180 instructional days, the minimum required by law, but that includes four early-release days (including the last day of school for students). That’s the same number of instructional days as last year, keeping in mind that since last year, the actual school day has been cut by 45 minutes as part of the district’s cost-cutting. Numerous school districts across the country have done likewise. (California and Washington State, for example, reduced their required school days to 175 and 173, respectively.)

By some measures, instructional time in Flagler was not affected. By others, it was. The instructional day is, generously put, a little over six hours long, or 32 hours a week–shorter than in most industrialized countries (it’s 60 hours long in Sweden, for example).

The school board was also interested in moving toward setting calendars two years at a time, to ensure continuity. But Superintendent Janet Valentine warned that that may not be as simple as it sounds. A-rated school districts have the flexibility to set their school calendars as they wish. School, districts that aren’t A-rated don’t have that flexibility. Flagler County has been A-rated for the last four years in a row. But Valentine cautioned that, based on the state Department of Education’s latest way of calculating district grades, Flagler may not maintain that A rating next year, or the flexibility to set its own school schedule.

That was the first time that the superintendent openly suggested that Flagler County’s A rating may be in jeopardy. Board members left discussions of tw-year calendars to another day.

The 2012-13 calendar is below.

School Calendar, 2012-13

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20 Responses for “Flagler Schools Will Start Earlier, On Aug. 16, End June 8, As District Sets 2012-13 Calendar”

  1. Maybe if there was a little less ‘Fun Friday’ and a little more teaching…

  2. Lori Cooke-Young via Facebook says:

    Maybe if they stopped shortening days so there could be more teaching. Belle Terre doesn’t have “fun Friday”. Those kids work all week and have even been told on the day before Winter break that they are no longer allowed to have pj day even.

    • Liana G says:

      Maybe that would partly explain why Belle Terre is doing so well. Pj days? My kids get enough pj time at home. That’s not what I am sending them to school for. School is a place for learning. Recess and circle time/group activities should be sufficient for daily “fun” and social interaction.

  3. PJ day is so fun for the little guys! I can appreciate making school fun, I just can’t understand that it happens every Friday (in Bunnell). My son feels entitled to watch movies at school now. Things have really changed since I was in school.

    • Just Ask says:

      Fun Friday occurs regularly during certain a special area (P.E.), not the whole school day! Some classes will show a movie during lunch and recess, but not during academic instructional time.

  4. Amy Hamal-Canna via Facebook says:

    in Bunnell, where is there fun Friday. What grade is he in? Last I knew in Bunnell, Friday was testing day. Not fun Friday.

  5. Donna Bunn Lightsey via Facebook says:

    Amy, I’d like to know the answer to that myself! I wish we had Fun Friday!

  6. Fun Friday??? Let me know where it is,….I am there!! :)

  7. Tracy O'Hara DiGeorgio via Facebook says:

    First they took away my kids school bus and made them walk to school, then they shortened the school day, which made it impossible to pick my the kids up from school if you work full time… Now, uniforms!!! I think as a tax payer we should have a right to vote what is good for our children, not the school board…

  8. Amy Hamal-Canna via Facebook says:

    We do, by way of voting for the school board. We chose them to make our decisions, or chose not to care by not voting. I know by me being more involved in the school I’ve certainly paid attention to what choices the school board members have been making more and who I’ll be voting for when it comes time to re-elect them.

  9. Jen says:

    That’s the best photo yet! I love Clark’s gun holster! LOL

  10. Doug Chozianin says:

    ‘Fun’ is not the correct spelling of:
    ‘learn’; ‘behave’; ‘reading’; ‘mathematics’; ‘science’; ‘imagination’; ‘respect’; ‘scholor’; ‘student’; ‘WORK’…

  11. Sadly, the kids will still just get 180 class days, the minimum permitted. Is this the best Florida can do for the next generation?

    • Liana G says:

      This district would benefit from year round schooling with its large percent of dual spouse working households and high poverty.

  12. Parent says:

    If the school board was to increase the number of insturctional days, I sure there would be an uproar.
    Parents will complain that it intefers with vaction etc..whatever the school board does parents are not happy.

  13. PCer says:

    I think they should extend the school year. Teachers are there for 196 days, student for 180, why do teachers need so many days??? When I was in the classroom, I spent most teacher work days twiddling my thumbs – planning was done throughout the year. I would rather have had kids in the classroom than the work day.

  14. Terra Swift via Facebook says:

    i dont think that year round school is a good idea, the younger kids need time out from school. they already dont have recess so they can learn more. kids will lose intreast real quick. with out haveing a lil fun at school. the only way i would go along with year round is if they reistated recess.

  15. Katie says:

    I completely understand scheduling around testing, and I think it’s a good idea. I also agree with parents who feel that a weekly (or even monthly) Fun Friday is a bit too much wasted instructional time. Once a term as a reward? Sure.

    As far has the 180 day minimum goes – remember that the more time students spend in school, the more teachers have to be paid, the more money goes into facilities costs, the more support staff has to be paid, and so on. I would love to see a 200-day school year, but can the district afford it? Would the same people who complained about a 180-day school year also complain about a tax increase?

  16. For Real says:

    PCer, I have two thoughts…
    1 is you have never actually taught in a classroom.
    Or 2, you taught so many years ago where photocpoying dittos and handwriting lesson plans were the norm. Feel free to shadow my days and see what I need teacher work days for!!!!!!

  17. Betsy says:

    I’ve got one for ya. When we home-schooled we use to work through the summer when it was too hit to do anything and take off the months of December and April to travel and spend time with family and friends during spring break.

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