School-calendar option calls for shorter summer vacation |

School-calendar option calls for shorter summer vacation

Potential changes to the yearly schedule at Lake Tahoe Unified School District schools – including a possible March break or mid-August start date – were discussed at a committee meeting last week.

Three new options for the district’s school calendars are being considered and were reviewed by the calendar committee.

The models basically are skeletons that provide options for people to explore, said LTUSD Superintendent James Tarwater. Small discrepancies, such as minor holiday changes, will be ironed out during the fine-tuning process. Current discussions are looking at the bigger picture.

Before the calendars can be finalized, the committee will send mock schedules to schools and the teachers association to gather input. Then the association will send their comments to the school board, where members will decide on options, Tarwater said.

During the decision process, the board will decide which options to implement at what schools and what school year to start the calendars. No decision date for the calendars has been finalized.

Option One is the only new choice for South Tahoe High School. The proposed model would start school in the middle of August, so students could take their final exams before winter break.

STHS chemistry teacher Joel Dameral said he likes the calendar because of the final-exam scheduling. If students are tested before the break, teachers don’t have to reteach the material after a two-week break.

Altering the calendar could cause schedules to not line up with other regional schools, which affects athletes, said STHS Athletics Director Don Borges.

“I’m trying to get my athletes on the same testing schedule as the teams we compete with,” he said.

The way the schedule is now, students play games during their finals, Borges said.

Calendar Options Two and Three would only affect the district’s elementary schools and South Tahoe Middle School.

Option Two is based on the traditional school calendar, which starts after Labor Day and ends in mid-June; Option Three is a modified traditional calendar.

The two have close start dates: Option Two would start after Labor Day, and Option Three the week before, but the breaks are different.

Option Three splits up summer break by allowing students to take off July and August as well as March. Option Two retains the traditional summer break of mid-June through August.

Under Option Three, summer school would be held in July, August could be a presession for students who need more help, and March would serve as an intersession.

The option also helps accommodate the shoulder season for parents in the service industry. Tarwater said attendance is strong through the beginning of the year but decreases after December. Scheduling a break in March might remedy the situation, he noted.

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