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updated: 12/14/2014 9:11 AM

Dist. 211 calendar change poses question for feeder districts

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  • Palatine Township Elementary District District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson

    Palatine Township Elementary District District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson

  • Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 Superintendent Dan Cates

    Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 Superintendent Dan Cates

 
 

If Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 changes the start and end times of its school year in 2016, both of its feeder elementary districts would have to consider doing the same.

But there likely will be a significant difference between how long it takes Palatine Township Elementary District 15 and Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 to make that decision.

District 211 emailed a survey to students, parents and teachers Friday seeking input on the perceived pros and cons of holding first-semester final exams before winter break. Such a change would cause the school year to begin a bit earlier in August and end before Memorial Day, as most colleges do.

The surveys are due Jan. 5, so that the District 211 school board can make a decision at its Jan. 15 meeting about changing the calendar for the 2016-17 school year. Administrators hope that giving more than a year's notice will prevent conflicts with any summer plans already made.

But one of the concerns is families with students in both District 211 and its feeder elementary districts having to deal with different summer breaks.

District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson said staying aligned with District 211 is a high priority for his district.

"We want our parents to have similar calendars for students in both school districts," Thompson said. "I'm confident we would follow suit. I think it would be an easy decision."

For District 54, however, the normal procedure would be not to finalize the 2016-17 calendar until the fall of 2015, district spokeswoman Terri McHugh said.

That's when the District 54 calendar committee meets to establish the dates of the following academic year, she added.

"It would be premature for us to bring anything to our calendar committee now," McHugh said.

While staying aligned with District 211 has been one of the committee's priorities, it would be up to the members themselves to decide how strong a priority it should be, McHugh said.

District 211 Superintendent Dan Cates said the primary reason for changing the calendar would be to avoid the disruption to instruction caused by winter break under the traditional model.

Often, academic assignments must compete with family obligations during the holidays and then material already taught must be reviewed after students return, he said.

Cates added that nearly 70 percent of high school districts in Cook, DuPage and McHenry counties have already transitioned to a collegiate calendar.

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