Summertime is here, school has ended and the last thing on a child's mind is the next calendar year. But plans have already been drawn for the next year, with a few small, yet powerful changes.
Changes approved by the School Board last month will sacrifice fall break in November. The change gives students the ability to take exams and finish the semester, before taking off two weeks in December.
"Feedback has been very positive," said Buddy Hinote, Director of High Schools. "This is the way it used to be in Santa Rosa County."
School will start around the same time, according to the director.
"Spring Break is still the same," Hinote said. "Thanksgiving will be reduced—what we used to call a fall break—from five days down to two days."
"We received information that the Department of Education would allow us to vary the length of semester," Hinote said. "It used to vary nine-week periods, as long as they equated to 90 days."
He said the Department of Education modified its policy on having two, 90-day semesters. The changes provided the School Board with an opportunity to have an 85-day first semester and a 95-day second semester for the upcoming school year.
"It's advantageous to us, to move to where we vary the length of our semester," Hinote said. "It allowed us to finish the first semester prior to Christmas Break."
For the past six to eight years, he said, students have been finishing the first semester in January, after a two-week Christmas Break. This led to some issues with students transferring in-and-out of the school district.
"There were students that had already received credit from another district that simply had to be there for the next few weeks." Hinote said. "Reverse to that, students from this district transferred to other districts that had already taken their exams."
He said the Department of Education made changes to its policy this year, allowing the School Board to adjust the length of its 90-day semesters.
The longer second semester may alleviate some pressure on the curriculum and scheduling conflicts at the end of the school year.
"You need a longer semester for testing," Hinote said. "We thought it best to have a longer second semester."
Link to 2013/2014 Santa Rosa County school calendar: https://www.santarosa.k12.fl.us/cal/cal1314.pdf