Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District will not implement a modified, year-round school schedule — at least not for the 2021-22 school year.
Superintendent Eddie Peasant sent an email to parents Wednesday saying he will recommend the district keep its traditional calendar next year to give administrators more time to prepare for the possibility of implementing the modified schedule in fall 2022.
“Like most of you, I believe that a modified school schedule offers all of our students the best and most opportunities for excellent learning experiences that support and maximize their individual academic growth,” Peasant wrote in the email.
The board will officially approve the school calendar at its Tuesday meeting.
The update comes after several weeks of discussion among district administrators, faculty and parents on whether to implement a calendar with a shorter, six-week summer break and more breaks implemented throughout the school year. The calendar would still require students to be in school for 180 days and teachers to work for 187 days.
School officials had previously said they felt the new schedule would help with student retention and build in more opportunities for struggling students to receive remediation throughout the year, rather than having to attend summer school.
District Public Information Officer Nicole Thomas said while most parents were supportive of the move to a more year-round calendar, some high school parents in particular said they wanted to know how the move would affect Advanced Placement programs at Starkville High School. She said delaying the move for a year would help come up with a plan for addressing addressing AP classes, remediation and other programs.
“We feel like delaying it a year will allow us more time to plan for (those programs), and then we’ll be able to share those programs ahead of time with parents so they might begin thinking about other opportunities that exist for their children, other than just knowing that it is going to be an enrichment program or it is going to be remediation,” Thomas said. “(We will answer) what exactly does that look like.”
Several school districts around the state, including Columbus Municipal School District, considered or are considering implementing year-round or otherwise modified school years after the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in disrupted school scheduling that education experts fear will leave students extremely behind in academics for the next few school years. Thomas pointed out it’s already difficult for teachers to work with students during summer school who have been behind since August, and the pandemic will only increase those challenges.
After several weeks of discussions with parents and teachers, CMSD’s school board voted 3-2 last month to retain a traditional schedule in the 2021-22 year, with Board President Jason Spears saying he hoped to be able to consider a modified calendar for the 2022-23 year.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.