back to school

Teacher Anna Marie DiNatile greets two students on their first day back at West Park Place Elementary.

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.

(6) comments


As I have said millions of times! this district, including the head clown in charge, Paige, don't have a clue. WE NEED MORE INSTRUCTIONAL DAYS BEFORE TESTS, she cries out.... Ok Liz.... how about you STAND UP to the teachers union and get rid of a few of those "professional development" days. Like the THREE in September 2018! or the SIX total before election day(11/6/2018). Ms. Paige is complaining about a loss of 5 school days(8/27-8/31 using 2018) 3 "in service days" in September. and 2 days lost the first week of November for parent conferences that are during normal school hours. eliminate those days in September, 8/20/18-8/23/18 is listed as CLASSROOM PREP and PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT! isn't that ENOUGH TIME!!! ALSO need to make conferences 2 hours AFTER school, M-F for that entire week, instead of closing school! THERE is your 5 days!


So you believe that any day that teachers are given to prepare for students shouldn’t exist?!
Because I should be forced to enter all report grades on my own time. Because I should not be allowed to spend time with my own kids after school hours so that I can meet with parents of my students. Everybody’s kids matter EXCEPT the kids of a teacher.
Get rid of professional development.... because there should never be an attempt to make a teacher better and more knowledgeable than they already are. You do realize that the week before students return to school, teacher do have to actually and physically set their classroom up, or would prefer that kids return wit school with desks still piled one on the other, chairs stacked, no books unpacked? We aren’t sitting in there for four days doing nothing. We’re receiving info on new district mandates, creating schedules that adhere to new time regulations, planning as a and across grade levels. Two years ago, we were getting training on the new math curriculum we were expected to teach that same school year. I’m hoping that the board will approve a new ELA curriculum which will have us in trainings for that during those first days back.
It seems you expect us to have kids all day everyday and then stay after school for an entire week multiple times a year come conference time. Be a teacher, only a teacher. Do nothing else. Forget about your own kids. Smh. Because the time I already devote to school work while I’m home isn’t enough already. People are always expecting us to readily give up our time solely because we chose to be educators and then want to crucify us when we don’t want to. My time is my time and no one should feel entitled to it.
And no. It’s not enough time because most teachers end up coming in that Friday even though we’re technically off.


They didn’t have professional days during the school year when I was in school and teachers seemed to do alright. Students also didn’t get the entire Thanksgiving week off, either. We got the holidays and that’s it. A lot of these professional days seem to coincide with holidays.


from your response, you appear to be the personification of what is wrong with this district, and more largely, the public education system in general. I am all for personal time, and time you spend with your children is the most valuable time parents have. I firmly believe that. not only do I believe that, I LIVE by that. The job I currently have, while the pay is decent, and the benefits offer nothing to sneeze at, it is FAR from PERFECT. in fact, I personally have had other job offers, and turned them down. the pay was better, the benefits and total compensation package FAR superior. my responsibilities and career advancement, would grow by leaps and bounds. Those jobs were NOT pursued by myself. WHY you ask. THE SHIFT. The time lost with my family was not worth it to me. Sounds to me like you need to pursue a new career path. Not only for yourself, but for the betterment of your students. Teaching is arduous and time consuming career. Its not for everyone. But these are the FACTS that are plain as day when people enter the profession. The problem is self entitled "half way" professionals. Whose "passion" is teaching, but only if being a teacher is on THEIR terms. That's not how it works. some of the perks offered to teachers, us simpletons in the corporate world would be ecstatic to have. State benefits. Summers off(if you chose). Ample holiday breaks. Snow days. a Monday through Friday SET schedule...some schools dismissed at approximately 2pm(my wife is at work til after 6pm M-F).... the last thing I will address, it seems to me the issues you have are with the poor management of the district itself. perhaps some of the anger should be directed at them. I hate to be a keyboard psychologist here, but seems like a change of scenery could do you some good. "Two years ago, we were getting training on the new math curriculum" "most teachers end up coming in that Friday" "We’re receiving info on new district mandates" "physically set their classroom up"..... seems like all these complaints are due to things the district isn't providing. Poor communication(updates received a week before school starts), lack of staffing(physical labor to move desks requiring you to come in on off days).... God Bless and I hope you find the career that fits all your needs. Everyone deserves the best for themselves and their family.

Isaiah T

Why don't you do your professional development in the summer? I worked as a professional typically for 9 hours a day and worked when I got home at the end of the day at least 4 days a week and often on weekends. It's called being a professional. You think you're the only one that works long hours. You're not paid an hourly wage, you're paid to get the work done. You don't like it? change jobs.


---Under the new calendar – which the board approved with four members in favor, two dissenting and one abstaining----- ABSTAINING !!?? SO, WE HAVE ONE MEMBER WHO IS JUST STUPID AND CAN'T MAKE THEIR MIND UP !!!

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