Ready or not, Summer 2012 is nearing an end with the approach of the Labor Day holiday. And the new year for Evanston public school students begins Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Parents are advised to check the school websites for specific information about some of the minutiae of enrolling and attending school and for updated bulletins throughout the school year.

For students in the elementary grades, you’re in District 65. For high school students, grades 9-12, you’re in District 202.

Both school districts cover the same geographical area, including all of Evanston and a small portion of Skokie, and each year, taxpayers wonder why they can’t get together and run schools with a single set of school board members and administrators like they do in most parts of the country. But that’s a discussion for another time.

At least the two districts collaborate on a number of things, including the school calendar, so that, for the most part, the holidays and winter and spring breaks are the same.

So what happens on Tuesday?

In District 65, different schools begin at different times, which is why you want to keep that website identified as a “favorite” on your computer.

The two magnet schools–Bessie Rhodes and King Lab–begin at 8 a.m.. The three middle schools—Chute, Haven, and Nichols—start at 8:30 a.m.  And the rest begin at 9:05 a.m.

Dismissal time is 2:45 p.m. for the magnet schools, 3:35 p.m. for the middle schools, and 3:35 p.m. for the rest.

Except, that is, for Park School, which serves students with special needs from both districts. It begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 3:15 p.m.

The high school, which serves only four grades (9-12), is a bit complicated as well.

The freshmen start fresh (no pun intended) at 8 a.m. with an assembly in the school auditorium. Then they whip through all nine class periods from 8:30 a.m. until dismissal at 11:15 a.m., when they all head outdoors for the Freshman Picnic at Lazier Field.

They will be dismissed from the picnic to go home at 12:15 p.m.

The upper classmen (grades 10-12) do not get lunch, but they start at noon and are dismissed at 3:35 p.m.

As for you parents, particularly those who both work and have kids in both school districts, you’d be wise to take Tuesday off to keep it all straight.

And for the rest of us, plan a little extra time in your daily movements around the city, and watch out for those 20 MPH school zones.

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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