New 2020-2021 School Calendar Is Approved by Board


Credit to Aidyn Gleason

A calendar marks the first day of school, the earliest possible date in accordance with a new Missouri mandate. Because this decision was made with regard to summer tourism instead of to students and school staff, it has been a source of controversy in the state. (Photo by Aidyn Gleason)

By Justin Brewer, North Star Reporter

After taking in the input of community members as well as many other things the committee decided on a calendar in a board meeting that contains some of these key points. Unlike past years when school has started on a Thursday, the first day of school will be on Monday, Aug. 24. Fall break will still happen and it will still be a full week. Final exams, which have in the past occurred the last week before winter break, will be given when students return from break. However, they won’t be given the first week students return, they will be taken in mid January. This gives students a week to review and prepare for finals. Spring break would be a universal spring break meaning that most districts would the same week of spring break. Another key detail is the last day of school. As opposed to it being in mid May, it is scheduled for Friday, May 28. However, if snow days occur, the last days of school could go into June. These are just a few of the key points that this new calendar will entail.

“I will say I feel like the district did a really good job kind of listening to everybody’s input and not just kind of coming up with their own thing, which I think for some people was the perception,” FHN Counselor and Committee member Lorraine Smith said.

Half way through 2019, Missouri Governor, Mike Parsons, signed the bill into law that mandates that Missouri schools can not begin classes earlier than 10 days before Labor Day. Calendar committees, consisting of both students and school administrators, have met to decide, plan and vote on what that calendar might look like.

“Basically with this whole calendar they’re just shifting everything two weeks from what it originally was,” Smith said.

The idea of completely changing the school calendar received mixed emotions from the public and while it seems that they didn’t, the public had a strong input into the final decision. A series of surveys and questionnaires were sent out to the public, giving parents and the community the opportunity to provide their input and opinions. These surveys had a very effective impact on the calendar and its inner-workings. Surveys usually consisted of questions asking the community what, on the old calendar, they thought was most important to them. According to the board the results of the surveys had 80% approval for the calendar, meaning that 80% of people approved of and agreed with the calendar proposed.

“At Francis Howell we never do work like this without committees and this version of the calendar actually had, in the survey work, over 80% approval which is tough to get that many people to approve,” Chief Communication Officer Matt Deichman said. The reason for reorganizing the school calendar is due to the government passing a bill into law. Prior to the new law, the FHSD school district had already approved a calendar that reflected every other years calendar. However, in July, a Missouri legislature changed the law regarding the start date of Missouri school districts. It stated that school districts could not start 10 days before the first Monday in September.

“No, I mean we made the best decision we could with the parameters that our state government put on us,” FHSD Board of Education Director Michelle Walker said. “No, I am not exactly happy with it. I would like to be able to let our local educators decide what’s best for students.”