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February 9, 2014

What should school calendar look like next year?

What does a full school day feel like?

I’m not sure I remember. I do know that Friday was a tough day in my own household, getting three kids ready for school and myself ready for work and out the door on time. I felt like I’d put in a full work day already by the time I drove into the parking lot at work. And I noticed that the kids were extra grouchy Friday evening and headed to bed without being asked to. After all, it was the first full day of school in weeks.

And it’s not like riding a bicycle. There are specific skills to getting five people out of the door in the morning, dressed, fed, brushed and happy (or not) and on time. And if you don’t use them, you lose them.

And the kids? It’s difficult to get back into the swing of things even after a weekend. After this January and February thus far, with such spotty school attendance, Friday had to feel like the first day of school all over again. And teachers? It’s hard enough to battle the “Season of Forgetting” at the beginning of the school year, when kids have forgotten the most basic lessons they learned the grade before. Now teachers face that same season in the middle of the school year and have to reteach the things they’ve worked on for the first half of the year. Not to mention the fact that the clock is ticking and tests are coming sooner than anyone would like to think.

Is the 2013-14 school year a loss? I doubt it; we have plenty of time to recover. Will it be a tough row to hoe? Most certainly. Will it take students, parents, teachers and administrators working together? Absolutely. But will we make 180 days, as state law requires? No way.

Marion County school officials are trying to create a calendar that will accommodate what everyone wants and still have the dedicated classroom time. And they want to hear everyone’s opinion on the issue. In addition to two public meetings scheduled, officials have asked parents, students and teachers to also vote in an online survey on which time period they’d like to see for the school year.

Hey! We have an online survey, too! And it shows you the results immediately. It can be found each week at So last week, we asked our readers to vote on the school calendar span they’d most like to see next year. And here’s what you had to say:

• The week of Aug. 25, 2014/June 15, 2015 — 10.11 percent.

• The week of Aug. 11, 2014/June 1, 2015 — 26.97 percent.

• The week of Sept. 1, 2014/June 22, 2015 — 28.09 percent.

• The week of Aug. 18, 2014/June 8, 2015 — 34.83 percent.

Online reader Sherrie Haller didn’t like any of the choices, however.

“School should start after Labor Day and end on, or very close thereafter, to Memorial Day,” Haller wrote. “The vacation days need shortened, and get rid of Faculty Senate days. Kids need a chance to enjoy summer and be a kid. High school kids need a chance to have summer jobs. Families need a chance to vacation together.”

We’re glad for the input, Sherrie. And remember, you can always respond online to our poll questions if you want to explain your vote, or as in Sherrie’s case, explain why you didn’t.

This week, let’s talk about CVS pulling all tobacco out of their stores nationwide as a stance against the habit. What do you think?

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor


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