Mitchell School District surveys parents on school start, break options

Oct. 27—MITCHELL — Parents in the Mitchell School District are getting a say in the development of the 2024-25 school year calendar.

The district distributed a survey at its most recent parent-teacher conferences asking parents to select their preference from a number of options concerning school year start dates, the length of the first week of school and whether they prefer a longer or shorter Christmas break.

The district distributes the same survey every two years as a way of gauging what parents think when it comes to balancing school time and break time during the year.

"The district does the same survey every other year to keep a pulse on what parents are looking at in terms of expectations for the start of school and if they want it after that September date," said Joe Childs, superintendent of the Mitchell School District.

The district is in the process of tallying the results of the survey. Once that is done, the results will be passed along to a committee — a group that includes parents and community members — which will parse the information and deliver a recommendation to the Mitchell Board of Education. The board will then make a final decision on the 2024-25 school calendar at an upcoming board meeting.

Each option has its pros and cons. A longer Christmas break, for example, allows more time for family trips during the holiday, but moves the last day of school later in the school year. Occasional parent surveys allow district leaders to see what most district patrons prefer for scheduling, Childs said.

Parents are given four options on when to start the 2024-25 school year:

* Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2024. Comparable to the current calendar, this option would balance the first and second semesters and allow for more make-up days for weather cancellations before Memorial Day. Final exams could be completed before Christmas break. The school year would end in mid to late-May and the first week of school would be three days long.

* Thursday, Aug. 15, 2024. This option is also comparable to the current calendar and would also allow exams to be completed by Christmas break. It would also allow for more make-up days for weather and the year would end in mid to late-May. The first week of school would be two days long.

* Monday, Aug. 19, 2024. This would leave less-balanced semesters and make it more difficult to hold high school final exams before Christmas break. The first day of school would be five days long.

* Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2024. This option would have the first semester end in January, with exams taking place after Christmas break. The final day of school would be in early to mid-June. There would be overlap between the school commencement and many college commencements with this schedule. The first week of school would be four days long.

A separate portion of the survey asks for preference of starting the school year on a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or after Labor Day. For Christmas break, parents have two options:

* Longer Christmas break. Students would attend school through Friday, Dec. 20 with break beginning Saturday, Dec. 21. This would allow for more time for family holiday trips and move the final day of the school year later in the year, possibly but not necessarily after Memorial Day. School would resume Jan. 6.

* Shorter Christmas break. Students would attend school through Monday, Dec. 23 with break beginning on Dec. 24. School would resume on Jan. 2.

Patrons with questions concerning the survey can contact the Mitchell School District for more information.