Thursday, November 20, 2003

Campbell schools eye calendar

By Karen Gutierrez
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ALEXANDRIA - The Campbell County School Board soon will decide whether to stick with the district's back-to-school date of around Aug. 1, the earliest in Northern Kentucky.

Also up for discussion: the current break schedule of two weeks in October, two weeks at Christmas and two weeks in the spring. Campbell schools are on an alternative calendar, meaning summer break is only eight weeks and more time off is taken during the year.

The board is unlikely to lengthen summer vacation next year. But one member, Mike Combs, would like to adjust the start date and breaks.

He's concerned about the impact on athletes, drama students and band members. Some must practice during fall break, so they don't enjoy true vacations, he says.

He's in favor of shortening fall and spring breaks to a week and a half and starting school a week later in the summer. A later start date would give football players a chance to practice twice a day before classes begin.

Next year's calendar most likely will come before the board in December. Interim Superintendent Diana Heidelberg has presented board members with several options, all of which call for two-week breaks in spring and fall, with students returning to school on either July 30 or Aug. 4.

District officials like the two-week breaks because during half that time, schools offer extra help to struggling students. This year, the first full year of the effort, about 10 percent of the district's 4,700 students participated.

The public can share its opinions with the Campbell County School Board at a "Come and Go" session from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 2 at Campbell County Middle School. Topics will include the ideal morning start times for schools and criteria for a new superintendent.


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