Parish students will get more than two weeks of vacation during Christmas break, and fall break will take place on Monday instead of Friday, if a new school calendar is accepted by the St. Charles Parish School Board.
The proposed school calendar for the 2014-15 school year is the result of a calendar committee considering more than 1,000 responses to a survey provided to the community by the school district.
Regina McMillan, public information coordinator for St. Charles Parish Public Schools, said the school system received a lot of input into next year’s academic calendar.
“Basically, all of our results across the board were consistent, no matter whether it was parents, employees, students or community members. They had the same opinions. They all felt a full week for Thanksgiving was most important. Second most important being the school year start date and third most important being the fall break,” she said.
With the survey results in mind, the calendar committee went about making slight alterations to next year’s calendar. Changes include the one-day fall break being pushed to a Monday rather than a Friday. McMillan said this was done at the request of those participating in or attending football games.
“We heard from our high school representatives that having a fall break on a Friday was not really a fall break for them during football season because they couldn’t go out of town,” she said. “By pushing the fall break to a Monday, they could have the Friday night football game and then leave afterwards and have an extended weekend to travel or what have you.”
The Thanksgiving holiday remains one week, but next year the Christmas holiday is being extended from 10 school days to 12 school days.
McMillan said the additional days were added to provide more balance to the overall calendar.
“When we looked at it, just putting holidays as normal would have the last day of school for students on Memorial Day and we said we don’t want our students coming back for Memorial Day for their last day after a holiday weekend,” she said.
If a storm should hit or if school is cancelled for other reasons, the students will receive fewer days off for the fall break or Thanksgiving.
The spring break/Easter holiday will be shortened from seven school days to six school days next year and the Mardi Gras holiday will be expanded from five to six days.
The first day of school will be Aug. 14 and the final day will take place on May 28.
However, because the introduction of new testing dates for the end of the year have not been released, Superintendent Felecia Gomez-Walker said the calendar may be amended.
“This calendar is really contingent on the testing schedule. The state has not released the testing schedule yet and so it’s quite possible that we will have to make some revisions to this once that testing calendar has been received,” she said.