District 214 moving finals before winter break

 
 
Updated 1/7/2016 10:44 PM
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Starting in the 2017-2018 school year, students at Northwest Suburban High School District 214 will take final exams before winter break.

The change is the recommendation from the district's calendar committee and was presented to the school board on Thursday.

"It was clear that it was extremely important for the majority of students, parents and staff that finals be held before winter break," said Superintendent David Schuler of a survey done earlier this school year with 6,500 responses, of which 70 percent wanted finals moved.

Because of the change, school will start about a week earlier than usual, on Aug. 16 in 2017, and graduation will be over Memorial Day weekend. Parent-teacher conferences will also move from first to second semester, Schuler said.

Spring break will remain the last full week of March, he said.

The calendar committee also discussed moving start times later in the morning, but Schuler said exact times have not been finalized because the district is still working with its busing service and the elementary districts in the area.

He said the goal is to move all start times to 8 a.m. or later and to also implement those changes in the 2017-2018 school year. Right now only Elk Grove High School starts that late. Buffalo Grove, Hersey and Prospect high schools start at 7:30 a.m., and Rolling Meadows and Wheeling high schools start at 7:25 a.m.

Since sending a letter home to parents about the calendar changes on Monday, Schuler said he has received mostly positive feedback, including many who want the changes to start in the 2016-2017 school year. However, because of families who may have already planned vacations, officials will wait a year.

District 214 board members were supportive of the changes on Thursday night, but will take a final vote at the next meeting on Jan. 28.

"I'm pretty excited about it," said board President Alva Kreutzer.

Several other suburban school districts have recently moved final exams before winter break to better align with collegiate schedules and keep students and staff from having to study or work over the holidays.

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