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Kent proposes one-week delay in '18 for elementaries

Public hearing set Thursday

By Bob Gaetjens Staff Writer Published: June 14, 2017 4:00 AM

Elementary school students would begin classes a week after the middle and high schools under a calendar change being considered by the Kent City School District.

Superintendent George Joseph said the proposal for the 2018-19 school year would have Theodore Roosevelt High School and Stanton Middle School students return Aug. 15. Students in kindergarten through the fifth grade would start Aug. 22.

A public hearing on the plan will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Kent City School Board of Education Office, 321 N. DePeyster St.

The final decision whether to change the calendar will rest with the Board of Education, he added.

"My biggest concern is that I need to make sure families of elementary students know well ahead of time that the 2018 calendar, if approved by the board, will [start] a week different between elementary and middle school and high school age students."

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With the advent of standardized testing, Joseph said the school year has started progressively earlier in recent years to permit more instructional time ahead of testing periods.

"Anything we put in at the beginning of the school year directly impacts the time they have to work on the assessments," he said.

However, the earlier start dates also have meant sitting in buildings without air conditioning during in hot weather.

"I know August is typically a very hot month with temperatures that really get unbearable in the classrooms," he said.

Stanton Middle School has air conditioning throughout, and Kent Roosevelt High School has air conditioning in some areas, he said, but the elementary buildings don't have air conditioning. Joseph said he said he wants to give elementary school students a break from the heat.

Since the school year is now counted in hours rather than days, Joseph said the district can add 10 minutes to the end of the school day for kindergarteners through fifth-graders to make up for instructional time lost due to the later start.

All teachers would have a day of work Aug. 13 in 2018. High school and middle school teachers would have their second day of work on Aug. 14. Elementary school teachers' second day of work for the school year would be Aug. 21, the day before classes would begin for elementary school students.

"I had a special meeting at each of the elementary buildings," he said. "The feedback I received from each of the elementary buildings was that everyone thought it was a great idea."


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