Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Superintendent Eddie Peasant said the district could move to a modified schedule for the 2022-23 school year.
If approved by the SOCSD board of trustees, students would have a shorter, six-week summer break but have two-week breaks in fall, winter and spring.
Peasant discussed the potential modified schedule at the board’s meeting on Tuesday. He hopes to formally present the calendar to the board for a vote in November.
This decision comes after nearly a year of discussion to make this move. The district decided to keep a traditional schedule for the 2021-22 academic year, but Peasant said in March he planned for SOCSD to move forward with the new schedule the following year.
The new school calendar still includes 180 school days for students and 187 for teachers, just like the traditional one. The traditional three-day fall break, two-week winter break and one-week spring break will shift to two full weeks each and the nine-week summer to six-week summers, SOCSD Public Information Officer Nicole Thomas said.
“On a modified school calendar, those nine weeks are spread over a longer break in the fall and the spring,” Thomas said.
No official dates have been released yet. The district’s calendar committee, composed of teachers across all schools, has been meeting over the past few months and plans to meet again next week to finalize the calendar.
“Essentially we’re working out a good compromise and taking feedback and working it all into a proposed calendar,” Peasant said. “I think that it will be great for our students and everyone else involved.”
Along with break changes, the modified calendar will offer intersession courses to interested students. The intercessions would be opportunities for students to participate in acceleration, to help master some standards or extend their knowledge through more of a summer camp-type experience, Thomas said. The enrollment process for intercessions will be finalized after an academic calendar is approved for the 2022-23 school year.
Teachers can also choose to work during these sessions if they so choose, Thomas said.
“Teachers who decide to work during those intersessions would be working with small groups of students, and they would be paid in addition to their 187 teacher day salary,” Thomas said.
Read to Succeed
SOCSD received a $2.5 million grant to fund literacy programs and initiatives throughout all district schools.
The district received this grant for the second time from the Mississippi Department of Education for $500,000 per year for the next five years. SOCSD Director of Educational Enhancement and Innovative Research Brandi Burton said this will provide anyone from birth through 12th grade with free books, fund literacy events throughout the year and work with all libraries throughout the schools to enhance the libraries into 21st century media centers.
This is the second time the district has received this grant. Burton said a large portion of the first grant prioritized STEM and improved the schools’ makerspaces, but Read to Succeed this year is geared toward workforce development.
“With this grant, we will be focusing on how important that literacy is in the workplace, especially in the career and technical fields,” Burton said. “… I’m hoping this is ultimately just going to increase literacy skills across the board. We have different job descriptions written in.”
This grant will also fund any intercession for the modified calendar or summer enrichment session that involves literacy, as well as salaries of teachers over these programs.
“With our plans to move to the modified calendar, this grant will provide literacy instruction and camp instructions and experiences during those intercessions for students that need a little help with catching up,” Burton said.