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May 20, 2010: School’s out for summer

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By John Foster

 Classes for Oldham County students will end early six Wednesdays next school year, according to a school calendar approved at the Oldham County Board of Education meeting Monday night.

Students will leave school two hours early so teachers can work in professional learning communities, discussing curriculum, assessment methods and optimum teaching practices. Under the new calendar, elementary students will start school five or six minutes earlier than this school year. Bus schedules won’t be affected, since students arrive at school prior to that time anyway, Assistant Superintendent Anita Davis said. Middle and high school students will operate on the same schedule except for those six days, she said. Oldham County Middle School Band Director Tony Wise spoke in favor of the early release days. He said there are so many things that come up in the course of a planning period, “focusing on student needs sometimes takes second place.” The calendar is slightly condensed compared to the original proposal. In the first split vote in more than four years, the board voted 3-2 to go to school on Feb. 15 and March 15, allowing school to finish two days earlier. Council member Jennifer Jones is concerned about students going to school for 10 weeks without a break other than weekends between Martin Luther King Jr. Day and spring break.  “I worry they’ll lose focus,” she said. “I worry about them losing their zest.” Council member Kevin Woosely pointed out that students have eight weeks this year without an extended break. Council member Larry Dodson suggested going to school on those two days, allowing for more school days before CATS testing and finishing the school year earlier. Dodson, Woosely and Walt Schumm voted in favor of the shortened calendar. Jones and Joyce Fletcher voted against it. The approved calendar starts Aug. 12. Fall break is Oct. 19 to 23. Christmas break is two weeks. Spring break is April 5 to 9, 2010. And the last day of school – barring any snow days – is May 20, 2010.   E-mail us about this story at: jfoster@oldhamera.com