Superintendent: Early start gives students edge
Grandview Heights students will continue to see their summer vacations begin and end early.
The Grandview school board Oct. 16 approved district calendars for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.
Next school year will begin Aug. 14, 2013, and the last day of class will be May 23, 2014. The winter break will begin with a professional day Dec. 20 and students will return to class Jan. 6.
The 2014-15 school year will begin Aug. 13, 2014, and end May 21, 2015. The winter break will begin with a professional day Dec. 22 and students will return to class Jan. 5.
The district began starting school earlier in August last school year to allow students to complete their tests for the first grading period before going on winter break.
The earlier start becomes even more important with the start of the state's third-grade reading guarantee next school year, Superintendent Ed O'Reilly said.
Under the guarantee, third-grade students who do not pass the Ohio achievement reading test automatically will be held back from advancing to fourth grade.
"I want as many students as possible to pass in October (when the tests are first administered)," O'Reilly said. "If they need to pass in the spring, that's a lot of pressure. Those two extra weeks early in the year will be critical for third grade."
Grandview is likely ahead of the curve regarding school calendars, and it is likely more districts will begin starting their school year earlier, board member Katie Clifford said.
Bexley has in essence used Grandview's model for the school year calendars it just adopted, O'Reilly said.
When Grandview adopted the school calendars for the past two school years, he said, a number of parents expressed concern about the number of days after the new year before school resumed.
Child Care Director Courtney Price has scheduled optional full-day childcare days for Stevenson and Edison students on teachers' professional days, including Oct. 18 and 19 of this year and Jan. 7, 2013, the last day before classes resume after this year's winter break, O'Reilly said.
Many school districts' childcare programs are closed on such days, he said.
The recommended school calendars have been developed by a committee composed of administrators, teachers, support staff, PTO representatives and the high school junior class president.
Also at last week's meeting, the school board approved the district's participation in the Central Ohio Compact.
The compact is an agreement signifying participants' commitment to developing a regional strategy to meet a goal that 60 percent of the central Ohio region's adults will have earned a post-secondary certificate or degree by 2025, O'Reilly said.
Participants in the agreement will include colleges and universities, public school districts, career and technology centers, educational service centers and community, private, parochial and independent schools, he said.
By 2020, a majority of Ohio jobs will require a career certificate or college degree, O'Reilly said. Only about 36 percent of adults in Ohio hold an associate degree or higher.
The compact includes a number of strategic principles, O'Reilly said, including that participants will:
* Work toward ensuring all college-bound high school graduates are college-ready;
* Increase the number of high school graduates who have earned credit toward a college degree;
* Advance the region's need for a highly skilled workforce, including an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics); and
* Reduce the cost of a college education for students and families.