Changes proposed for St. Charles Parish school calendar

St. Charles Parish students will receive a longer break for Mardi Gras but a slightly shorter break for Christmas if the proposed new school calendar for the 2017-18 school year is accepted by the St. Charles Parish School Board.

Among notable changes on the calendar is that the Mardi Gras holidays will extend from three school days to five, this break beginning in mid-February (Feb. 12-16), and the Christmas-New Year’s break will be 10 days instead of 11.

In addition, fall break will be a week later under the proposed calendar, on Oct. 9 as opposed to Oct. 3. Thanksgiving holidays will remain the same in length at five school days.

“Historically, the Christmas Break usually includes 10 school days and five school days for Mardi Gras,” noted Regina McMillan, spokeswoman for St. Charles Parish Public Schools. “The proposed 17-18 calendar follows this pattern, while the 2016-17 calendar was a change from the typical calendar of the past.”

The first day of school will be Aug. 10 and the last day will be May 24.

The proposed school calendar is the result of a meeting of a calendar committee of school board members, principals, teachers, students, parents and a business-industry representative in which the group reviewed the results of a survey provided to the community by the school system. With the survey input in mind, the committee developed the proposed calendar.

According to McMillan, 1,440 people responded to the survey, the largest number of respondents to date.

Questions posed by the survey included what day respondents would like to see the school year begin and what time of year respondents prioritized receiving time off. After tallying results and assessing the community’s opinion, the schedule is laid out within the parameters that a semester must have at least 88 days and that state law requires that the school year must include 177 student attendance days.

A first reading of the proposal went before the school board at its Oct. 26 meeting.

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