CANTON: With 68 percent of its third-graders at risk of failing to meet state reading standards this year, the city’s school district is planning to devote two extra days to training staff in literacy and effective instructional practices.
The school board voted Monday to shorten the current school year by two days for students to allow more time for additional professional development for teachers and staff.
The change will create a five-day Memorial Day weekend vacation starting with an extra day off May 22. The second extra day off will be the previously scheduled last day for students, May 29. This creates a 174-day school year for students.
“Is there a concern about our students losing learning opportunities?” questioned school board member Richard Milligan.
Superintendent Adrian Allison replied that the end of the school year is typically a time for “transition activities” and the last day is not “rich with instructional activities.”
The additional student vacation days required approval from the Ohio Department of Education, as did two such “Innovative Education Pilot Program” days previously requested by the administration.
The school board resolution changing the calendar noted that the district is engaged in a transformation plan that will reorganize its 14 elementary schools into seven for kindergarten through second grade and seven for third through fifth grades.
In other action Monday, the board approved a calendar for the 2014-2015 school year that starts classes Aug. 20, has a two-week winter break and ends for students on May 27.
Members chose Lisa Gissendaner as president for the 2014 calendar year and Ryan Brahler as vice president.