Many factors played into the Crawfordsville School Board’s decision to select a balanced calendar earlier this month for the upcoming 2021-22 school year.
Breaks, athletic schedules, vocational programs and adjacent district calendars all played a part in the decision-making process, among others.
But the calendar remains set for precisely 180 days of school, regardless of when the school year begins or ends.
“Because we’re on a semester system, when you start during the first week of August, that’s more days in the first semester,” Crawfordsville Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Bowling said. “Christmas break is what we determine our semesters by ... and that break always stays on the same date.”
After discussing the annual issue at length, four of five board members favored a calendar that sees students returning to school Aug. 4, 2021 before departing for summer break May 24, 2022.
The 10-day earlier start results in an equal amount of days in both semesters, allowing teachers, particularly at the high school level who may have one-semester curricula, to provide the same quality of instruction to all students.
“The (high school) teachers were saying if we start later in August, the first semester then will have 10 fewer class days because it gets compressed, so to speak,” Bowling said. He also noted the difficulty in choosing between condensing material versus skipping material, which teachers may be forced to do with a later start.
“Even if we speed it up and we cover all the topics, it’s not going to be as in-depth,” Bowling said. “You’re never going to be able to get around the fact that there are 10 fewer days in the first semester. They were saying that should take precedence over any other concerns. They were arguing that the instruction should be the first priority.”
Not all classes at the high school comprise the entire year. For instance, government and econ classes, though considered one subject, are only one semester apiece.
“We have quite a few of those,” Bowling said.
Each year, the three districts in Montgomery County attempt to coincide breaks with one another’s calendars. They also try to provide a seamless educational experience, which can be difficult with Crawfordsville using semesters and Southmont, North Montgomery and Western Boone using trimesters.
“Complicating it was the fact that we try to stay aligned with North, South and Western Boone, which decided to go with a later start date,” Bowling said. “It gets complicated. For them it’s not an issue because their Christmas break splits a trimester, so it really doesn’t matter to them. If we were on trimesters I would agree with those who say it’s too early. But for us, we’re dealing with finals and we are trying to get it all in before Christmas break.”
The board approved the calendar which utilized an earlier start date of Aug. 4, 2021 at the district’s February public meeting.
For more information, contact the district’s administration office at 765-362-2342.
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