Washington School District officials are reminding families of changes that have been made to the academic calendar for the new school year.
Students will return to classes Thursday, Aug. 15.
The changes are a result of new requirements by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
There are no longer a minimum number of student attendance days required, as long as required number of hours are included in the academic calendar.
Prior to 2019-20, calendars had to include 174 days minimum.
A minimum of 1,044 hours of attendance must be included in the calendar, as well as a total of 36 hours of inclement weather makeup.
Public school districts can choose to add 60 additional hours to their academic calendar totaling 1,104 hours and not have to make up any hours missed due to inclement weather.
The Washington School District has added those 60 hours with no changes in beginning or end dates, holidays, or winter/spring breaks.
Officials said the high school graduation date is now set with no possibility of having to change graduation due to having too many snow days.
There’s also no possibility of having to reprint graduation announcements or change travel plans for out-of-town guests.
But most importantly, snow days are now a thing of the past, officials said.
The district was able to add the hours through a combination of changing some start/end times and the elimination of early release Wednesdays. Wednesdays are now full days, unless otherwise noted on the calendar.
There are no changes with start or end times at any of the elementary schools because these schools already had enough hours built in. The start time will remain at 7:45 a.m. and the end time is 2:45 p.m.
At Washington Middle School, the start time will now be 8:25 a.m. The end time is 3:30 p.m.
Washington High School will now start at 8:20 a.m. and end at 3:25 p.m.
Winter break for students will run from Dec. 21 through Jan. 5. Students will return from winter break Jan. 6.
Spring break for students will be held March 13-22. Students will return from spring break March 23.
Friday, March 13, will be a staff professional development day.
Washington High School graduation will be Thursday, May 21, which also will be the last day of school for all students.
To accommodate child care needs, the YMCA has agreed to provide child-centered activities on all professional development days, nonschool days and spring break days.
Parents should contact the YMCA for hours and costs associated with these services, contingent upon the YMCA being able to staff facilities.
The district’s “Easy to Read” academic calendar is available online.
The calendar is developed by a district committee which consists of 24 teachers and administrators balanced between the seven elementary schools, Early Learning Center, Four Rivers Career Center, Washington High School and Washington Middle School based on the percentage of students enrolled in each school building.
The calendar committee held three meetings. The overriding goals in developing the calendar are to establishing a calendar that maximizes student learning; is considerate of the professional learning time for staff; and collaboratively building a calendar (within the guidelines) that is thoughtful and productive.