Tupelo considers drafts for school calendar

Tupelo School District LogoBy Chris Kieffer

Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo Public School District is considering two draft versions of its calendar for the 2014-15 school year.

The primary difference between the two is the timing of spring break. One would observe the traditional weeklong holiday between March 9 and 13. Students also would be off the Friday and Monday near Easter, April 3 and 6. They would have school on Presidents Day, Feb. 16.

Under the other draft, spring break would be combined with the Easter holiday, and students would have six weekdays off, from March 30 through April 6. Presidents Day also would be a holiday.

The school year would begin on Aug. 18 under each draft and would end on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. Other holidays would include Labor Day (Sept. 1), Columbus Day (Oct. 13), Thanksgiving (Nov. 24-28), Christmas (Dec. 19 to Jan. 5), Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 19) and Memorial Day (May 25). Graduation is scheduled for May 29, 2015, on both drafts.

Students also would take their first-semester exams after Christmas break. They would return to class on Jan. 6 and would have three review days before taking exams on Jan. 9, 12, 13 and 14.

New teachers would report for training on Aug. 1, and all teachers must attend one day of the district’s professional development institute between Aug. 5-8. Staff would then report on Aug. 11.

Other staff days without students include Dec. 19, Jan. 5 and June 4.

Both drafts reflect a new state law mandating that school cannot begin until the third Monday in August. This year, Tupelo started classes Aug. 5.

There has been some talk of a push for the legislature to repeal that law, and the school district likely will not finalize its calendar until it knows what state lawmakers may do. The current legislative session lasts until April.

When the drafts were presented at Tuesday’s School Board meeting, Board President Rob Hudson noted that combining spring break with Easter likely would mean a change from the tradition of having it the same week the state’s universities have their break.

chris.kieffer@journalinc.com