TPSD’s calendar draft shows changes

Tupelo School District LogoBy Chris Kieffer

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo students could have classes on Labor Day, according to a draft of the 2014-15 school calendar presented during Tuesday’s School Board meeting.

The calendar will not be adopted until sometime during the spring, likely in February. The draft released on Tuesday reflects a state law that goes into effect this year prohibiting schools from starting before the third Monday in August.

Superintendent Gearl Loden said the district released an early draft to have time to get input from teachers and parents, among others. They can send feedback to Community Liaison Mary Ann Plasencia at maplasencia@tupeloschools.com.

The late start date will prevent the district taking holidays on both Labor Day and Columbus Day, Loden said. Because Labor Day would occur just two weeks into the new year, Loden said he thought Columbus Day – Oct. 13 – may be a better time for a break.

Exams for high school students would start one day after they return from Christmas exams. The district would not be able to get in enough days to meet seat-hour requirements for the high school courses before the Christmas break, Loden said.

It may be able to do so if it shrank Thanksgiving break to one day, he said. However, he believed it would be important to maintain a week-long break to allow families to travel. Elementary and middle-school exams could probably be taken before Christmas, he said.

The school year would end on May 29, the Friday following Memorial Day. Teachers’ final day would be Monday, June 1.

The first day of school would be Aug. 18. This year, the district started school Aug. 5.

Holidays include Columbus Day (Oct. 13), Thanksgiving (Nov. 24-28), Christmas (Dec. 22 to Jan. 5), Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 19), Spring Break (March 16-20), Easter (April 3-6) and Memorial Day (May 25).

The district could make May 29 the last day for teachers – instead of having them return the following Monday – but that would require having class on the Monday after Easter, Loden said.

Teachers would start the year with two days of training between Aug. 5-8. They would then report on Aug. 11. Teachers also would work on Jan. 5.

Loden said the new law results in a calendar with many changes for stakeholders. One of the legislative priorities of the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents will be to change the law to give local districts flexibility to start earlier.

chris.kieffer@journalinc.com