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D-302 discusses possible changes to school calendar

MAPLE PARK – Kaneland High School students will continue to take their final exams before winter break this year, but that could change within a couple of years.

The Kaneland Board of Education approved the 2018-19 school calendar, which had been reviewed with Mid-Valley school districts, the Kaneland administrative team and the Kaneland Education Association before being presented to the school board Dec. 11.

The calendar reflects the guidelines used by the majority of Mid-Valley school districts.

“Our semesters are balanced and our spring break and our winter break also follow the other five districts,” District 302 Superintendent Todd Leden said. “Batavia just has the one week, and they roll their calendar back because they have finals before break where the other districts are piloting that as we are.”

Board member Pedro Rivas asked about when a change regarding final exams could take place. Leden explained that there would have to be enough time to talk to the Mid-Valley school districts about whether this is something Kaneland would choose to do. It definitely won’t happen next school year.

The change could occur as soon as the 2019-20 school year though. Kaneland currently has several teachers piloting the administration of their final exams before winter break.

“We would talk with the Mid-Valley district to let them know if this is something we are going to do and have enough time to do it and let the other districts know,” Leden said. “And then we would have to roll back the start time back a week earlier to try to balance the semester.”

Leden explained to the board that there continues to be conversations that attempt to better define what final exams are and when they should be taken.

“Should you just end a unit and the chapter and then roll into the next semester?” Leden asked. “So part of the philosophical question for what a final exam is and when it should be given are yearlong questions that are still under investigation.”

Once a collective agreement has been made on what a final exam exactly is and when it’s going to be taken, then changes to future schedules may take place.

As for the 2018-19 school year calendar, student attendance will begin Aug. 22 and the last day of school is scheduled for May 30, 2019, unless that date has to be adjusted because of weather-related cancellations.

Quarters and semesters will remain balanced like in previous years and with the exception of Aug. 22 to 24 and Nov. 5 to 9, there are no weeks in the calendar in which the students are only in the classroom for three days.

In addition, while there have been recent discussions of a possible shift from a quarter-based schedule to a trimester one for early childhood through fifth grade, such a change, if it occurs, would not impact the calendar for 2018-19.

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