BY JESSICA STEELEY
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Planning to be on vacation until Labor Day? You might want to reschedule.
Clarkston Community Schools requested and received a waiver from the state to start the next school year a week before the Sept. 4 holiday, Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock said.
“With the law stating that schools cannot start before Labor Day, our options were limited in creating a calendar. In order to gain more flexibility in the process, we sought the waiver,” Rock said.
Discussion on the Clarkston News’ and other Facebook pages about the possibility was mixed, with most against the change.
“Supposedly we will get out four days earlier the following June. However, I would much rather have four days of June heat then four days of August heat. Those classrooms are unbearable on hot days even in September,” posted Bernadette Dixon-Castillo.
“Teachers, parents, and children deserve the time in the summer to be together,” posted Celeste Steinhelper Wood. “Kids need time for jobs in order to make money for school. Starting early has no real benefits – in fact what seems like a few days really ends up being weeks when you take into consideration all people must do to get ready for school. People have plans made already for this time. It’s a bad idea.”
Rock said the Board of Education will approve the calendar for the 2017-2018 school year within the next several weeks.
“Clarkston seeks to enrich the learning of all students,” he said. “As we expand opportunities for our students to learn, demonstrate their learning, and pursue their passions, we feel that a flexible calendar is helpful.”
The change is being considered because the State of Michigan started requiring school districts to have 180 days of instruction in the school year as opposed to the past requirement of 175. The change took effect during the 2016-2017 school year.
The school year calendar is collaboratively created by the Board of Education, administration, teachers and support staff, and feedback from parents is encouraged, the superintendent said.
Rock said the basis for decisions made by administration is to help students grow socially, emotionally, physically and academically.
“I’d rather start after Labor Day and stay later in June or lose a day at President’s Day and a few at the Christmas break,” posted Janet Porter.
“I don’t think school should start until after Labor Day. Personally I will still take my end of summer vacation with my kids, they will just miss school. I don’t see any benefit from starting before the holiday,” said Christie Merenuk Mountain.
“I feel we need a year to adjust to possible new schedule,” said Robin Kirk. “I have always felt very informed about most Clarkston school events from sports to choir events through school emails, but this seemed last minute. Possible attempt to change a Michigan law should have been more public.”
“Absolutely not. We are raising children who need to have some fun before going to work for the rest of their adult life! Let them have some more summer before going back to school,” posted Melissa Meyer Voeltz.
“I read they were increasing the school year days and it makes perfect sense for school districts to start earlier. We have to find a week somewhere, it’s either start early or stay later in June,” said Andrea Donnelly Pavlish.
“Try teaching a group of students in a classroom when it’s 80 degrees and sunny out in June and tell me to go into almost July – LOL they check out around Memorial Day,” posted Laura Brown.
“Psychologically it’s easier on the students to start school in August. If they get out near the beginning of June, their ‘vacation’/time away from academics is 10 -11 weeks,” said Kathie Nalepa. “Most kids are ready to go back to some structure by then. No matter when school begins, going later into June is always a struggle, especially after Michigan winters.”
“I personally like going back prior to Labor Day and getting out earlier in June,” posted Jill Cascone-Wisser. “My girls are ready and excited to get back by mid-August and have lost some of that excitement come May when the beautiful Michigan weather hits. P.S. Mama isn’t gonna lie – I like having my kiddos out early in June because I too have lost my excitement of homework, paperwork, packing lunches, etc.”
“As a teacher, I always appreciated having my kiddos for four days and then having a four-day weekend,” posted Ellen Mansfield McNaughton. “It’s a great transition … get those routines down and then take a break. June is HARD! Kids are checked out when that weather turns and they want to be out in it. Fact of the matter is — different people will like different things … I like it this way though!”
BY JESSICA STEELEY