After a few weeks of listening to comments about the proposed 2005-2006 school calendar, McDuffie County Superintendent of Schools Mark Petersen decided the public had some valid points.
Dr. Petersen "tweaked" the calendar (Click here to see the revised calendar - .pdf format) that the Board of Education received during the January meeting to reflect several of the suggestions he received from parents and teachers.
The revised version will be presented to the board at the Feb. 9 work session. It should remain on the table until the March meeting when board members will be asked to vote on this newest version.
"I've not asked the board to put that on the table yet, so that's why I feel at liberty to be able to make some adjustments as I hear input on the things that I think would be needed," Dr. Petersen said.
In the revised version, the students' first day is Aug. 1 instead of July 29. Oct. 3 is now a holiday instead of an in-service day. Thanksgiving holidays are Nov. 23-25 instead of the entire week. The mid-winter holiday was moved to the first full week in February so it wouldn't interfere with spring sports.
Despite the departure from the traditional school calendar, Dr. Petersen stated that the proposed calendar for next year is not a balanced calendar, nor is it year-round school.
"Let's go back and compare it to what we're doing now," he said. "I'm (starting) four days earlier. I go a week later. I've got a week in October and a week in February. ...It's not really different, but it's certainly not a balanced calendar."
The balanced calendar proposed by now retired Superintendent Ed Grisham consisted of eight weeks of holidays during the school year. Dr. Petersen's version has six weeks of holidays instead of the four in the traditional calendar.
Dr. Petersen said the holiday weeks in October, February and April will be used to incrementally remediate students instead of waiting until the summer. He said the breaks are also there to "give children a breather."