JCPS ends school year later than usual, same schedule next year

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by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on June 5, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 5 at 10:01 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- While students in surrounding counties and private schools have been out of class since last week, the school year ended for Jefferson County Public Schools students on Wednesday, June 5.

The later ending date is the result of a new school calendar which includes a five day mid-winter break which can be accessed to make-up for snow days rather than tack on school days at the end of the year.  JCPS plans to repeat the practice in the 2013-14 school year.

"We can forget about the snow," said Mike Ice, assistant principal at Lincoln Elementary.  "When we have to add on those days, kids get antsy, teachers get antsy. It's just better to have that day set."

When JCPS dipped into that make-up day reserve and scheduled classes for one day of the break, February 25, some parents were upset.  Yet, as they watched an awards ceremony at Lincoln, second grade parents had no problem with the new schedule.

"Not at all," said Tiffany Chappell.  "They love school.  They love to come to school.  I love participating in the school."

"That worked out fine," agreed Paul Whitely.

"What that one week provided us was the opportunity to get with students who really needed the opportunity to recover coursework or do whatever they had to do to get back on grade level," said Ben Jackey, a Jefferson County Public Schools spokesman.

The calendar revolves around student achievement, but other factors come into play.

"Making sure that our teachers get the professional development they need," Jackey continued, "making sure that we are really listening to the needs that parents have had and we have had some parents say we wanted to have a concrete last day that we were able to provide this year."

"But there's some give and take with that.  And so the board here in the future will be looking at the '14-'15 school calendar and decide if they want to continue as the last two years, or do something different."

Meanwhile, JCPS has yet to determine how many of the 41 teachers who were given layoff notices last month will be hired for the next school year.

A variety of factors are at play, including the staffing levels and needs of each school, the teacher’s qualifications and enrollment levels of special needs students which trigger federal funding for some positions, Jackey said.

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