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The Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board took another look at a draft of the school calendar for 2016-2017 at its meeting Monday night and found some aspects of it that were troubling to some board members.

Member Candance Chow inquired about the fact that Evanston Township High School plans to begin the year on Aug. 22, which is two days before District 65 classes begin on Aug. 24. In the memory of most board members, that has not happened in recent years.

Beatrice Davis, assistant superintendent of human resources and the district’s representative on the joint calendar committee with the high school, noted that ETHS typically begins on the fourth Monday of August in order to coordinate final examinations for the first semester around the winter break at the end of the calendar year.

Board Vice President Richard Rykhus suggested that District 65 might start on the fifth Monday, which would be Aug. 29, and end the year on June 9 instead of June 6. That way, he said, the year would begin and end on five-day weeks, rather than three days.

Member Claudia Garrison noted that the two districts have different considerations, in that parents often are faced with finding child care for their younger children, which is not a significant factor for the high school.

Rykhus was also concerned with the second week in November, in which the schools are closed on Tuesday, Nov. 8, for Election Day and again on Friday, Nov. 11, for Veterans Day. Less than two weeks later, the schools are closed for Thanksgiving on Nov. 23-25.

The reason the District 65 schools suspend classes on Election Day, they were told, is because several of the schools are polling places, while ETHS is not.

Both Rykhus and Chow said they thought that respect for veterans might be increased if the kids were in school that day and were taught the meaning of the contributions made to the nation by its military veterans, rather than being on holiday.

Another concern was the timing of the winter break. In the draft, school is in session on Dec. 23, which some board members felt might be too close to Christmas Day. Classes resume after the two-week break, on Jan. 9.

Board President Tracy Quattrocki asked Davis to discuss the board’s concerns with her committee and to bring a final version back to the board for a vote in August.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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2 Comments

  1. ETHS typically has final exams before winter break?

    Looking at this part of the story raised a question for me:

    "Beatrice Davis, assistant superintendent of human resources and the district’s representative on the joint calendar committee with the high school, noted that ETHS typically begins on the fourth Monday of August in order to complete final examinations for the first semester before the winter break at the end of the calendar year."

    During winter break 2014-2015, my ETHS student studied for final exams that took place after the return to school in January.  If the exams had been before winter break, there would have been no reason to study for exams during the break.  So the exams were definitely after winter break.

    It was our first year at ETHS so is it true that ETHS final exams are typically conducted after winter break?

     

    1. I only speak for my family,

      I only speak for my family, but I'm thinking that a lot of folks would prefer an earlier start to the year over a later one. Those last weeks before school starts start to feel pretty long, especially with younger kiddos. 🙂 

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