SSISD board approves calendar extending school year into June

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Feb. 7, 2007 - Sulphur Springs students won't begin the 2007-2008 school year until the last week in August, which means the first semester will extend three weeks into January and the end of the year won't come until June.

The new calendar, one of two proposed by the district advisory council, was approved at the regular February school board meeting Monday.

The first day of classes for students will be Aug. 27, the first allowable day under a new law mandating classes may not begin earlier than the fourth week in August. The last class day for the 2007-2008 school year will be June 5, with June 6 designated as a staff development day/bad weather day.

The other proposal would have ended the school year with May 29 as the last class day.

Teachers and district staff won't start until Aug. 20, as opposed to Aug. 15 as proposed in the other calendar. That meant three additional staff development days had to be factored elsewhere into the district calendar. Teachers workdays will be on Oct. 26 and 29, 2007; Jan. 18, 2008; April 18, 2008; May 2, 2008; and June 6, 2008. Students will not report for classes on those days.

Both calendars included the following school holidays: Labor Day, Sept. 3; Fall Fest holiday, Sept. 14; Thanksgiving, Nov. 21-23; Christmas/winter holiday, Dec. 24-Jan. 4; and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21.

The approved calendar also extended spring break by one day, from March 17 to March 24, 2008, and added the May 26, 2008, Memorial Day holiday.

Both calendars also concluded the first semester on Thursday, Jan. 17. The late start pushes school back by two weeks, and in order to get in all of the required days, the semester can no longer be completed before the Christmas break.

Also, Sulphur Springs High School may be adding another period to its day, extending the class day from seven to eight periods, in order to get in all of the new state required core classes and still offer a few electives.

The state will require all students, beginning with next year's freshmen class, to take four math and four science courses, in addition to the other requisite core subjects such as four years of English, in order to graduate, Sulphur Springs High School Principal Chuck King told the board.

Because the "4 by 4" requirements limit the number of optional, extracurricular and elective classes, King suggested increasing the high school schedule to include eight periods instead of just seven so they can still work in some of those classes. He and other high school planners and advisors are expected to "bring more recommendations" suggesting other ways to meet the growing achievement and program requirements to next month's school board meeting, Superintendent Patsy Bolton said Tuesday.

The school board designated March 5-9 as public schools week in Sulphur Springs Independent School District.

Open house activities for Early Childhood and Beginnings Learning Centers, Douglas Intermediate School and Houston Learning Center are slated from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 5.

Middle school and high school open house will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6.

All four elementary schools — Austin, Bowie, Lamar and Travis — will hold open house from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8. 

his year's theme, "One Texas. One Vision. All Children," set by the state, is designed to focus on "significant gains our state has made in ensuring that every child is successful." More information will be provided about each school's slate of activities in March.

Officials also presented a report on board member training hours; each trustee is required to receive 10 continuing education hours their first year of service on the board, and at least 5 hours each year after. Since May 2006, Judy Gillem has received 14.5 hours, Foy Williams 15.50 hours, Carolyn Thomas, 13.75 hours, Jacquelyn Brice, 23.5 hours, Jack Chubb 9.75 hours, Norman Sanders 3 hours and Don Sapaugh 15 hours, according to information presented at the meeting. It was noted that those who have yet to get in their hours will still have several additional opportunities to do so before May, including during the Northeast Texas School Board Association spring meeting.

Also during Monday's school board meeting, trustees approved a routine resolution designating a commodity processing cooperative interlocal agreement with Region VIII Education Service Center; paying the bills, and tax credits and collections as presented.

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