The board of education approved the new 2019-2020 calendar for Dawson County Schools during the Dec. 10 board meeting based on recommendations and feedback from community members.
Through the electronic feedback format ThoughtExchange, participants shared their thoughts on how the school calendar could be improved for the upcoming school year.
During the meeting Superintendent Damon Gibbs said approximately 850 participants, mainly parents and staff members, provided feedback.
One of the most noticeable changes to the calendar is a readjustment of breaks.
A week-long fall break at the end of September has been nixed for 2019. Instead, students will receive three days off – Friday, Sept. 20, Monday, Sept. 23 and Tuesday, Sept. 24. The extra days have been applied to February 2020, with faculty and students receiving a break from Feb. 13 to 17.
“The feedback expressed a desire to have multiple breaks spread throughout the year,” Gibbs said. “To add the break between Christmas and spring break, we needed to shift some days from the fall. We wanted to maintain a balanced calendar where we finish the first semester before the Christmas break.”
Students and staff will still receive a weeklong break in November for the Thanksgiving holiday, as well as a winter break from Dec. 23 to Jan. 7. Spring break will be April 6-10.
Feedback from participants also expressed concerns regarding the number of early release days.
“We had a number of parents comment about the difficulty of child care on early release days. In an effort to meet the needs of the community, we reduced the number to less than half and have made plans to complete the professional learning at other times,” Gibbs said.
In the current 2018-2019 school calendar, there are eight early release days throughout the year. The approved 2019-2020 school calendar has only three.
For faculty and staff, flex planning days were added for May 28, 2020 and July 29, 2020. It will be each school’s choice to use either May 28 as a post-planning day or July 29 for preplanning.
School start and end times were not changed.
The 2019-2020 school calendar is available to view or download at dawsoncountyschools.org.