In an effort to set the 2007-08 school calendar, McDuffie County School Superintendent Mark Petersen is considering more than the moon and stars. And all this consideration is delaying the finalized outcome.
"I would love to have a calendar approved in December, but it doesn't look like that's the case, but we're doing our best," he told The Mirror in an interview.
Last month, Dr. Petersen put a survey on the school system's website and received 450 responses, including 162 written comments.
After creating 14 drafts, Dr. Petersen proposed a calendar for consideration, only to receive "80 percent thumbs down." The Superintendent said the negativity caused him to make some changes because they all "had the same common concern."
"Part of my responsibility was to develop a calendar that would fit," he told the school board members at their November meeting. "Is there such an animal? I don't know."
The factors that must fit not only include everyone's opinions, but requirements of the state and issues that determine academic excellence - 180 days of instruction with 90 days in each semester, ending the semester before Christmas break, and including a fall and spring break.
The number one priority of people who responded on the survey was a later starting date. Dr. Petersen said it is impossible to have a later start date, a five-day fall break and a 90-day semester that would end before Christmas.
Discussion with the board members revealed that the breaks are important because they are used for remediation. Thomson High School Principal Rudy Falana expressed the importance of having the semester end before Christmas vacation. Each principal expressed the need for teacher work days.
A second proposed calendar is now on the website for consideration. Dr. Petersen said he would like to hear from everyone - students, parents, teachers, staff, business and community members.
"We are an inclusive administration where we want to get input, so we are trying to see what's going to fit best," he said. "I'm not going to get a calendar that everybody likes...I understand that, but I think we can make a good decision, and the sooner we can make it, the better off we'll be."
To view the calendar or participate in the survey, visit www.mcduffie.k12.ga.us.