The Washington School District has set its academic calendar for the next years.

The school board approved the calendars for 2018-19 and 2019-20 at its December meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Straatmann said a 26-member districtwide calendar committee met two times to review the proposed calendars which were then revised seven times based on feedback from each building.

Straatmann said having school calendars in advance enables parents to more effectively plan vacations and family time.

The calendars promote academic achievement and teacher professional development opportunities, she said, and also meet the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education mandates for number of days and minutes required.

No Major Changes

Both calendars have a similar start date as the current year and first semester will end before winter break and second semester before Memorial Day.

Straatmann said the new calendars also provide longer periods of teaching without breaks.

Professional Development days for staff are spread throughout the year in the new schedules and offer consistent early release days.

Straatmann said the most notable change compared to the current year was moving a professional development day in September to the day after parent-teacher conferences.

The district will not be in session on Easter Monday which was requested by staff. Straatmann said there is a slight decrease in attendance on Easter Monday as well.

Spring Break

Both calendars also feature a spring break without interfering with the state assessment window and other testing.

Straatmann said having a weeklong spring break in March allows high school students taking college-level and AP (advanced placement) courses an early break before heading into the laborious tests which require passing scores to obtain college credit.

“Having this week in March may also help reduce student absenteeism due to providing time to those families who must take vacations during the academic year,” she said.

Straatmann pointed out that spring break days will be used for snow day makeup if the district accumulates more than five snow days.

Additionally, all teacher workdays at the end of the first and second quarter were moved to Fridays in an effort to provide normal Monday through Thursday school weeks for students.

To accommodate child care needs, the Four Rivers Area YMCA has agreed to provide child-centererd activities on all professional development days, nonschool days and spring break days.

Straatmann said parents should contact the YMCA for hours and costs.

Snow Days

Both calendars state that the superintendent and school board have the right to revise the calendar in the best interest of students. This usually occurs when there is a high number of inclement weather days.

Two high school graduation dates also are listed on both calendars, in the event the district incurs seven or more snow days.

Students will continue to follow an early-release schedule every Wednesday, as they currently do, so staff can participate in professional development.

Opening day for students for the 2018-19 school year will be Wednesday, Aug. 15.

Spring break will be held March 18-22, 2019.

Graduation will be held on Thursday, May 16, 2019. However, if the district has seven or more snow days, graduation will be moved to Thursday, May 23.

The new calendars will be posted on the district’s website.