Instruction time a priority in next year’s Hinsdale District 86 calendar

<p>Sun-Times Media file photo</p>

Sun-Times Media file photo

Learning from this year’s severe winter, the Hinsdale High School District 86 Superintendent Bruce Law is recommending emergency school days be identified throughout the school calendar.

Law also is recommending seniors graduating next year not have their school year end a week earlier than the rest of the students.

The school calendar originally approved for this school year had June 6, as the last day of school, if no emergency makeup days were needed. However, seniors at Hinsdale Central graduate on May 29, and South seniors graduate May 30.

Law is proposing senior finals and graduation next school year be moved back “to provide them with more instructional time,” although he did not specify an exact date.

Some School Board members had concerns about having seniors attend school into June.

Board member Kay Gallo said when her three children graduated high school, the first week in June was registration at the colleges they wanted to attend. It was important to be there to qualify for the scholarships the colleges offered, Gallo said.

She also questioned when the College of DuPage starts its summer session and whether that would conflict will the later graduation date for District 86 seniors.

Some students need the COD classes to get into college, Gallo said.

Law acknowledged there could be conflicts and unintended consequences of extending the seniors’ school year, but “more important than anything is instructional time,” he said.

With the same goal, Law and district staff are proposing that in the 2014-15 school calendar, five days scheduled as non-attendance days for students, including two teachers’ institute days on Jan. 16 and Feb. 27, and the Martin Luther King and Presidents Day holidays, should be designated as emergency replacement days. That way classes missed due to bad weather or other emergency, could be made up as close to possible as when the lessons were scheduled to be taught.

If no emergency days are needed, the students would be off those days as in years past, and their last day of school would be June 5, 2015.

However, the district is reserving June 8 to 12, 2015 as additional emergency days at the end of the school year, if they are needed. The school calendars for next year will clearly identify the last day of school as June 12, to alert parents that if they schedule activities or trips prior to that day, they do so at their own risk.

District officials planned to use June 9-12 this year to make up the four days that the schools were closed this winter due to frigid weather. Parents’ objections caused them to reconsider that decision. Instead, district administrators and teacher representatives agreed to have the last three days of school, June 4 to 6, be full days of school, to make up as much material as possible. The days originally were intended just for final exams, with dismissal at 1 p.m. June 4 and 5, and students attending just 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Friday, June 6.

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