For students in the Christina School District, summer will be just a little longer this year.
The school board last week approved a calendar that has school starting after Labor Day for the first time in several years, meaning students will head back to the classroom beginning on Sept. 3.
Under the new calendar – which the board approved with four members in favor, two dissenting and one abstaining – students in grades one to six and grade nine will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Students at Brennen, Delaware School for the Deaf, REACH, Sarah Pyle and Montessori Academy will also begin on Sept. 3.
All students, in grades kindergarten through 12, will be in school on Sept. 4.
Seniors will graduate the week of June 1, 2020, and classes will end for all students on June 15 – five days later than classes end this school year.
In December, the district asked parents, teachers and students what the district should consider when creating its 2019-20 calendar. The most frequent comment was to start after Labor Day.
The decision to start after Labor Day has long been requested by many. A survey from the district last year received an enthusiastic response to push the start date back – with 65 percent voting in favor of it. That year, however, the board opted to keep the start date Aug. 27.
This year, the board approved the post-Labor Day start, with board members Elizabeth Paige and John Young opposed.
“I abhor the fact that we label and shame schools based on test scores, but we do that in this state, and I think it’s imperative that we maximize the number of instructional days before we actually test the students,” Paige said. “And so I have continued to support a pre-Labor Day start for that, among a number of other reasons.”
Young and board member Angela Mitchell raised concerns that a later start date would affect summer programming.
“I would need to have a conversation with the people who lead those programs to see what they would do,” Superintendent Richard Gregg replied. “They’re aware of the routines and the necessary adjustments that are made, so I would have a conversation with [Christina Early Education Center] and Brennen and [Delaware School of the Deaf] leadership.”
The district’s Wilmington schools, which operate under a separate memorandum of understanding with the state, will run on an independent calendar schedule.