On October 15, Sweetwater County School District #2 brought together representative parents, staff and board members to examine data from the recent calendar survey sent to more that 3200 contacts.
The district recently surveyed parents and staff regarding elements for consideration in the upcoming calendar development. In that survey, 63% of the respondents wanted the school year to end prior to Memorial Day. 65% of the responses also favored a Spring Break that spanned an entire week and a Wednesday without school prior to Thanksgiving was important to 51% of those who responded.
While the ultimate goal of the committee is to recommend a set of calendars to the board of trustees, it works under some district guidance as well as requirements of the State of Wyoming. One piece that the District values is ending the first semester by Christmas break. Ending the semester prior to Christmas break means an August start date; however, high school students enrolled in college classes complete those classes prior to Christmas as well. Students who graduate at semester are able to have their courses completed and submitted prior to entering the first semester of college. The district currently has 105 students enrolled in 1 or more college credit classes. Information gathered from districts around the state indicates that at least 23 districts complete their first semester prior to leaving for Christmas vacation. Start and end dates are ultimately the decision of individual districts.
The State of Wyoming has requirements as well. First, districts must meet with students for a minimum of 175 days, and teachers are required a minimum of 185 days which would include professional development, parent teacher conference days, and work days. In addition, districts must comply with instructional hours. Within the 175 contact days with students, elementary school grades must meet 900 contact hours, middle schools 1050 and high schools must meet a minimum of 1100 hours. Sweetwater School District #2 complies with these requirements.
The next steps for the committee will be to overlay the survey results on the 2021-22 calendar and make adjustments based on committee recommendations. (Enclosed with this article are the results to individual survey questions as presented to the calendar committee)