Education

Muscogee County School District 2019-20 and 2020-21 calendars are approved

The Muscogee County School Board conducts its monthly meeting Dec. 17, 2018, in the Muscgoee County Public Education Center.
The Muscogee County School Board conducts its monthly meeting Dec. 17, 2018, in the Muscgoee County Public Education Center. mrice@ledger-enquirer.com

The calendars for the next two academic years in the Muscgoee County School District were approved Monday night.

The Muscogee County School Board’s 7-0 vote came a month after the board requested changes to superintendent David Lewis’ initial recommendation and two weeks after the revised version was tabled to give time for another survey.

Board chairwoman Kia Chambers and District 7 representative Cathy Williams were absent.

The board wanted to know whether the teachers prefer the initially proposed 2019-20 and 2020-21 calendars, which have longer Christmas breaks but require teachers to have planning days later in May, compared to the revised recommendations for 2019-20 and 2020-21, which have shorter Christmas breaks but allow teachers to have planning days earlier in May.

According to the meeting’s agenda, 970 of MCSD’s approximately 5,000 employees responded to the administration’s follow-up survey. They overwhelmingly prefer the first version of both calendars: 76 percent favor the first version of the 2019-20 calendar and 62 percent favor the first version of the 2020-21 calendar.

Dissenting view

Despite voting for the initial proposal, District 5 representative Laurie McRae said, as a parent, she wants a shorter winter break, with the second semester starting Jan. 6 instead of Jan. 8, but “I am smart enough not to go against the majority of the teachers.”

She asked for more parent input next time.

According to last month’s agenda, the calendar planning committee comprised MCSD communications director Mercedes Parham, chief human resources officer Kathy Tessin, chief financial officer Theresa Thornton, director of research and accountability Patrick Knopf, principals and community representatives Rabbi Beth Schwartz of Temple Israel, Georgetown Elementary School PTA president Mark Marshall Sr., Columbus State University provost Deborah Bordelon and Columbus Technical College secondary education initiatives director Chey Wilson.

Lewis said he also prefers a shorter winter break but deferred to the committee’s parameters and the survey results. He plans to propose the 2021-22 calendar next year and one more calendar each succeeding year, so the board wouldn’t be asked to approve two calendars at once but the district still would have the following year’s calendar set in advance.

2019-20 calendar

Here are key dates in the approved 2019-20 calendar:

Aug. 1-2, 5-7: Teaching planning/staff professional development days.

Aug. 2: Student verification day.

Aug. 8: First day of classes.

Sept. 2: No classes; Labor Day.

Oct. 14: No classes; staff professional development.

Nov. 11: No classes; Veterans Day.

Nov. 25-29: No classes; Thanksgiving break.

Dec. 23-Jan. 3: No classes; Christmas break.

Jan. 6-7: No classes; staff professional development.

Jan. 8: Second semester begins.

Jan. 20: No classes; Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Feb. 17: No classes; Presidents Day (MCSD will conduct classes if it needs to make up a missed day due to inclement weather earlier in the school year).

March 30-April 3: No classes; spring break.

May 21-23: Graduation.

May 22: Last day of classes.

May 26-27: Teacher planning.

In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, moving four public holidays from traditional dates to designated Mondays. Congress said the law would have “substantial benefits to both the spiritual and economic life of the Nation.” There

2020-21 calendar

Here are key dates in the approved 2020-21 calendar:

Aug. 3-7: Teaching planning/staff professional development days.

Aug. 4: Student verification day.

Aug. 10: First day of classes.

Sept. 7: No classes; Labor Day.

Oct. 12: No classes; staff professional development.

Nov. 11: No classes; Veterans Day.

Nov. 23-27: No classes; Thanksgiving break.

Dec. 23-Jan. 4: No classes; Christmas break.

Jan. 5: No classes; staff professional development.

Jan. 6: Second semester begins.

Jan. 18: No classes; Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Feb. 15: No classes; Presidents Day (MCSD will conduct classes if it needs to make up a missed day due to inclement weather earlier in the school year).

March 29-April 2: No classes; spring break.

May 20: Last day of classes.

May 20-22: Graduation.

May 21, 24-25: Teacher planning.

Mark Rice, 706-576-6272, @MarkRiceLE.

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