Hinsdale District 86′s graduation dates to remain the same next year

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

Sun-Times Media file photo

Next year’s seniors in Hinsdale High School District 86 will graduate a week earlier than the end of the school year, as has been the tradition.

The District 86 School Board on Monday approved a school calendar for 2014-15 with graduation dates of May 28, 2015 for Hinsdale Central and May 29, 2015 for Hinsdale South.

Superintendent Bruce Law had recommended that seniors next year not graduate almost a week earlier than the final day for the rest of the students.

For Law, it’s about maximizing instruction time for the students.

“My original proposal to increase the number of days seniors attend school was to take advantage of as many instructional days as possible and maximize that final year of their academic career,” Law wrote in a memo to the School Board dated April 21.

He withdrew that recommendation after he heard from a number of students, parents and staff members expressing concerns about the plan.

“Several comments expressed a general concern about our graduating seniors’ engagement in academic coursework at the end of the spring semester,” he said.

School Board member Richard Skoda has said that when seniors graduate, the classes they were in with juniors and sophomores basically shut down.

“It’s closing down the whole academic climate,” Skoda said.

Law disagreed.

“I don’t believe learning in our schools stops once our seniors leave,” Law said.

Law said he will ask the school principals and Assistant Superintendent Pam Bylsma to convene a task force to “assess the need to explore new ways to take full advantage of their final semester and . . . the merits of a school calendar proposal that provides more meaningful instructional time to seniors.”

Next year’s school calendar also clearly identifies June 12, 2015 as the last day of school for both Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South high schools.

Readers have to go two lines up from that date on the schedule to see June 5, 2015 will be the last day, “if emergency days are not declared.”

Next year’s school calendar shows a teacher’s institute day on Jan. 16 and the Martin Luther King holiday on Jan. 19 will be used as make-up days if school is closed for bad weather or other emergency in the second quarter of the school year.

If school is closed unexpectedly in the third quarter, the Presidents Day holiday on Feb. 16 and a teachers’ institute day on Feb. 27 would be used as makeup days.

If more make-up days are needed, or if school is closed for an emergency after Feb. 27, the last five days of the year, June 8 to 12 are reserved as make-up days.

“We want to be very clear. June 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, (2015) could be attendance days,” Law said.

Parents and students protested when district officials tried to use four emergency days this June to replace the days the schools were closed due to frigid weather in January, They already had made plans for those days, they said.

In response, the district staff decided to use three partial days of schools, June 4-6, as full days and keep the final day of school this year June 6.

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