T – 12 days

School starts in Worthington on August 21st. Across Worthington Schools that day looms large in all we are doing. Construction projects are wrapping up (hopefully), class lists are being finalized, teachers are working to organize and decorate their classrooms, transportation is fine-tuning bus routes and daily our curriculum leaders are working with staff to familiarize them with new standards and new ways to help students learn. Everything must be ready by Tuesday, August 21st our 2012 Opening Day!

My younger sister is an Art Teacher in Lee County Public Schools, Ft. Myers, Florida. Yesterday, August 8th was her first day of school for this school year. In Lee County students were back yesterday.  They begin early in August and end about the same time our school year ends.  Their number of school days for students is similar, but they have more frequent breaks across the school year.

In Worthington our calendar is ever creeping towards and earlier start time and an earlier (in May) end date.  For us it is more of a shift and our breaks throughout the year have actually decreased ever so slightly.  This shift, seen across the state, is designed to do two things.  First it is designed to allow first semester to be complete by winter holiday.  Currently our students embark on a ten-day to two-week winter holiday then return to class for a week of instruction before finals.  This disruption to the first semester does not make sense educationally.  Second by beginning earlier in August the school district maximizes the number of instructional days that students are in school before they are assessed on state exams.  With new mandates such as the Ohio “Third Grade Reading Guarantee” these instructional days take on even greater importance.

Many have strong feelings about the school calendar.  Spring Break is important to my family because we always go visit my parents and sister in Florida.  Others would like to see us begin after Labor Day or have less “random” days off throughout the year which are very difficult for child care.  In Worthington we have a calendar committee that meets regularly and works to create the best possible calendar for the most people.  Obviously it won’t work for everyone.

This year “Opening Day” is August 21st.  I for one am glad it wasn’t August 8th. (Although my sister had a great first day and is off and running with the school year.)  I hope the school calendar works for you and for your family.  No matter, we’re going to make 2012-2013 the best school year yet in Worthington!

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