Flagler County schools’ 13,000 students and their parents will have their full Thanksgiving week back as a holiday next fall, as opposed to the truncated, two-days-on, three days off schedule they had last November. The trade-off: school will start at its earliest date in recent memory: on Aug. 10, a Wednesday, with faculty having to report on Aug. 3, a full month before Labor Day. The school year will end with a half-day on May 26, the day before Memorial Day.
The Flagler County School Board hasn’t formally approved the calendar, but agreed Tuesday evening that the proposed schedule is the calendar it will approve at its first meeting in January. It will actually approve a two-year calendar that reflects the same approach. The board had wanted an earlier start date for a while, and tried to enact it for the current year, but the process was complicated by the Legislature’s delay in settling on a new start date. The Flagler board ended up approving a current-year calendar it did not want, with a split Thanksgiving week.
Tuesday’s discussion was smoother, with the hard work accomplished by an administrative calendar committee. The calendar is in large part dictated by the state’s standardized testing schedule. The earlier start date allows students to have two to three more weeks to prepare for exams, and not to have a long break just before taking major tests.
“The calendar committee would like to implement the earlier start dates which would allow students to complete the first semester prior to winter break, and the school year would end prior to Memorial Day,” Jim Wood, a member of the committee and the district’s human resources director, said. “We have the assessment schedule for the 2015-16 school year, and that’s been implemented into this calendar, but we don’t have the test assessments for the 2017-18 school year.”
“I’m glad that all the work you did the year before is now going to be able to be put into place,” board member Janet McDonald said. “I am confident that the testing schedule will work in the following year.”
Only two questions still hung over the calendar adoption: whether the board would adopt a two-year calendar, as it prefers, and whether faculty and other employees were agreeable to starting the school year so early without pay until almost a month later.
The restoration of Thanksgiving week off is important “for families and faculty and staff, everybody I think appreciated that time, so it looks great,” Colleen Conklin, who chairs the board, said. “I don’t really foresee any major issues or changes. I know this is just a workshop, the item will be coming to us, but how much discussion has everyone had in regards to proposing a two-year calendar, given that that is usually a preference?”
Superintendent Jacob Oliva was resistant to the two-year adoption. “I know the board has a desire to put forth a two-year calendar, and I think that’s a little bit of our apprehension, to put that forward for action” Oliva said. “We will be definitely bringing the 16-15 calendar up for action at the January meeting, and the feedback for the 17-18 is there is some apprehension toward that without the assessments’ dates being finalized to adopt and approve a calendar that may need to be amended.”
“I would support a two-year calendar with the idea if there are major changes you can always amend it,” Conklin said.
The only change the committee expects, if there is to be a change, is the week of spring break in the 17-18 school year, because that’s when the district looks at the testing window, and try not to have spring break before testing begins. “That’s something we can have an action on with that condition,” McDonald said.
So it appears that the district will settle on a two-year calendar. (See both proposals below.)
The pay schedule was another issue. “It’s a long time to ask people to go” without pay, Conklin said.
Oliva said that historically, the pay period would be “consistent with the previous years, and the notion is pretty much that as long as we communicate it well in advance that going that three weeks without the first pay, the first pay will be Aug. 26 even though teachers start Aug. 3, historically that’s about when they got the first pay anyways, so after this year, it starts leveling out. It was pretty much agreed upon that this should work.”
Oliva said he has both teachers’ and service workers’ unions’ support for this arrangement, even though in subsequent years the pay period will not necessarily move up.
Download the school calendars.
Click to access Microsoft-Word-Proposed-2016-–-18-2-year-Calendar-–-DRAFT.pdf
Michelle StPierre says
Why!!!!!????? What is the point?!?! Middle schoolers are home before 2pm. Wonder why crime rates are high.
What is the deal?!
Holy Scrap says
Why so long for thanksgiving?? I don’t get it. It’s one day to eat a huge meal with family. That’s it. Doesn’t require a week out of school
Kristen Buccini says
We already get three days for Thanksgiving, so now it’ll be two more- not too big a deal. I don’t really care for the decision personally, I think three days is enough. I’m actually kind of happy that school is starting sooner though! My oldest’s birthday is usually the first day of school. Joseph.
Angela Caccavale-Anest says
Because a lot of people have family out of town or out of state and take vacation this why the week is needed my opinion and to get a flight to go out of state the day before is hard as well
Renee Brunell says
This is wrong on any levels. Cutting summer shorter, causing more scheduling issues for parents and not to mention forcing our children to attend school during the hottest part of the summer. Very upset over this news.
Donna Bunn Lightsey says
Seriously, it’s not any cooler 2 weeks later. It’s Florida. We only have 2 seasons anyway. Hot and hotter.
Renee Brunell says
Yeah seriously.. triple digits compared to double. Been here 30 plus years.
Aimee Wilson says
& why not be at school where it’s nice & cool & too hot to do anything outside anyway… their reasoning for it starting sooner is legit. The summer will be back to normal next year
Donna Bunn Lightsey says
I wish there was a 10° difference. I have recess duty every day!
Diana Becker LeBrun says
Loved that this picture has the Wild Turkey in the middle of it. Bahahahaha
Lisa Aikens says
I guess they are hinting you’ll need some with the extra two days with the kids!! LOL
Alex Luxeenacat says
Wild turkey!!! Lol
Carmen Stanford says
The Wild Turkey is for parents to ease the pain of the decision that was made for us w/o us.
Tracy Willett Hennessey says
I wish the county would stick to a schedule we planed a vacation last year for this years Thanksgiving only to find out they took away the full week, now I have two children who have committed to summer jobs ( one out of town ) and they are starting school two weeks early :/ I can only imagine how difficult it is for parents of younger children who need to make daycare and transportation arrangements
Susie Clabby says
C. Campbell says
This is total crap. Every school board member needs to be voted out. They screw every family in Flagler co every time they get together. There is no need to start that early or have a full week off for Thanksgiving! They make a strict dress code (because it is not an uniform) that costs family on average $200+ a kid at the start of the year and then make them find child care for atleast 3 if not 4 days the week of Thanksgiving. All so they can do nothing even longer during the school year. Maybe they should focus more on teaching and having kids in school on a regular basis, than how to make a school calendar that gives them the most time off through out the year. Plus you know they will have a dozen days that kids don’t have school for what ever reason, but when you go past the school there will be 8-10 cars there. I say vote everyone of them out, only because we can’t strait up fire them!
Patti Knight says
Last year they took away the full week at thanksgiving to make up the days because we had to start later due to legislation. It was not permanent.
This year the summer is shorter (don’t forget last year it was longer because of said legislation) because the legislation changed again to allow school to start earlier for the testing schedule. It will even out going forward. Back to the typical 10 weeks.
What I don’t like is how Christmas break starts the 23rd of December. To accommodate the semester ending. That’s gonna be tough for folks who travel at Christmas. Break should have been Dec. 19 – 30. Returning to school Jan 2nd. But that’s my opinion.
Donna Bunn Lightsey says
I like having more time before the holidays than after. But I understand why they had to do it.
A pint of Wild Turkey with the Thanksgiving Dinner. Is that a Southern version of an apéritif? If so, how is that served, by the glass or by the Snort? This is why Grandma got Run over by a Reindeer!
THAT IS BEYOND STUPID!!!!!!! There is no reason to move school up 2 weeks just to have 2 more days of break. Some people have things to do over break, that week in particular. So much for our every year trip up north for a couple events occurring that week. Thanks so much flagler county….not
Kim Wagenhoffer Manford says
Ridiculous. Why are they out after New Years. That whole week? This is so stupid. Why start so early. Because of testing? It hasn’t worked yet so the issue is something else. My kid won’t be there until aug 22 and they will have to take him after New Years. I have to work. Let’s stop being dumb about this and have consistency. Everyone knows consistency is the key to a child’s success.
Darlene Race Bunting says
What happened to Flagler County trying to have the school start/end dates be close to the majority of the nations school dates ? Starting that early in Aug is ridiculous and it shortens the summer break this year by almost 2 weeks..and families that travel/ kids that spend time with families out of state will have conflicts as well
Donna Bunn Lightsey says
I don’t think Flagler County, or any county in Florida, has ever tried to make their calendar like any other school system.
Darlene Race Bunting says
As far as the Thanksgiving week off I thought the week was started to “build in” hurricane days? If schools closed they still had option of having kids attend that Mon-Tues-Wed of Thanksgiving instead of adding days to the end of school year
AnnMarie Walter Ciabatoni says
I don’t like at all..
Sarah W. says
It is what it is, but why is there a bottle of Wild Turkey in a picture for a story about childrens school? Bad taste.
Because Thanksgiving is about family, eating and drinking, and hopefully having a sense of humor.
Krista McCoy Grinstead says
It’s all about the tests folks. That’s it! The schedule is made around the test schedule. It’s not about the kids and their families it’s about the test results and how much funding they will get. Sad
Jennie Clawson Garris says
Hate that, we love our summers!
Okay we may start almost 2 weeks earlier, but we end school almost 2 weeks earlier. And it’s better for students at the end of it. Now they get all their testing done before winter break so they have a great winter break so they don’t have to worry about testing when they come back and they start a new semester. I’m a student at FPC and even thought I have a shorter summer, I can get all my testing done before the Winter break :). And I get to graduate earlier, so i find it okay.
Hate it. I also hate the bell schedule in the high school. How are the fat and skinny classes better for student learning (or is it only easier on the budget?) The courses were designed to be full year courses, not 1/2 year crammed into a 2 hour daily course. Kids don’t learn like that. Do some research and do what is best for kids – not what is best for the board.
Whenever a calendar is created, what is best for the child should always be number one priority- not when planning days and breaks are the most benefit to the employees. It seems those who dream up the calendars fail to remember children have parents that work and their planning often leaves the child hanging and unsupervised. The same mentality that goes into the calendar is the same that went into implementing school uniforms! The teachers dress horrible, but that’s ok. Get rid of the uniforms, inmates wear uniforms!
Please Change School Middle School Times To 8:30 AM And Get Out At 3:20 PM And Provide More Buses At Buddy Taylor And Indian Trails Middle School And Change The School Year To Start On September 2nd Make All Schools In The County Start At 8:30 AM And Get Out At 3:20 PM Also Hire More Admininistration At Buddy Taylor And Indian Trails Middle School And Get More Buses For Buddy Taylor And Indian Trails Middle School To Start At 8:30 AM And Get Out At 3:20 PM And The New School Year Should Start On Friday September 2nd 2016 And Ban Uniforms For Elementary And Middle And High Schools
Indian Trails & Buddy Taylor Middle School Should Both Start At 8:00 Am And Get Out 2:00 PM
That Stinks, kids need time out of school, why cut the summer short. They should have started it in September in my opinion
I have a wedding to go to in August. With the old school dates it wouldn’t have been a problem. I’m still going with my kids to the wedding because nobody told us or gave us a heads up on this. When do they plan to tell everyone this schedule?
tyler irigoyen says
Guys read it again summer isn’t cut that much shorter the school year ends may 26th