The Thomaston-Upson Board of Education approved the 2013-2014 school calendar by a 6-0 vote at their March 12 meeting. Board chair Keith Rohling was absent, and Vice chair Jacqueline Hollis chaired the meeting.
A calendar committee made up of administrators and teachers from each of the schools developed the calendar. Committee chair Dr. Larry Derico, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, presented the calendar to the BOE. In response to a question of how many teachers had a chance to see the proposed calendar, he stated that they had close to 280 teachers vote on it.
One part of the calendar that caught the eye of Board member Steve Sadler was Spring Break, set for April 21-25, 2014. Sadller asked why the break comes so late in the school year.
“There was a recommendation to try to align spring break with the neighboring school systems, or as close as possible,” Dr. Derico replied. “We are in line with Pike County and Lamar County, although their calendars have not been approved yet, and could change.”
Board member Miriam Elsey also said one of the complaints she had heard was about the late spring break.
But Assistant Superintendent Dr. Mike Gatlin said what the committee heard was to have spring break after the CRCT tests.
“The message the committee got from their constituents was to go ahead and get the CRCT tests out of the way before spring break, rather than have spring break, miss a whole week of instruction, and then come back and have the tests,” said Gatlin. “They’d rather get it over with and done, and then everyone can relax at spring break.”
Parts of the calendar include having students start on August 8, 2013, have a fall holiday break from October 7-11, 2013, Thanksgiving holidays from November 25-29, 2013, Christmas holidays from December 20, 2013 to January 6, 2014, with students returning to school January 7, 2014, a winter holiday on February 17-18, 2014, Spring break from April 21-15, 2014, and the final day of school and graduation on May 23, 2014. The calendar includes three calendar reduction days, two professional development days, and three potential work reduction days.
Board member Angie McGill made a motion to approve the new calendar. Board member Leon Fowler seconded the motion and it was approved, 6-0.