Every year around Easter, families plan and take vacation trips involving reservations that were set up the prior year. For the 2013-14 school year, Easter break will fall on a different week and the school board wanted to get the calendar approved so residents could make their vacation plans early.
"Normally, spring break is the week following Easter Sunday," said interim Superintendent Don Dailey. "In the wisdom of our legislators, the state testing starts the day after Easter next year."
He said with that in mind, the board had no choice but to schedule the week prior to Easter as spring break. Easter will fall on April 20 next year and spring break will be the week of April 12 through 20.
Dailey said the state testing involves grades threethrough eight. They have three weeks to complete the tests starting on April 21. He said if the school chose to go on break that week it would shorten the time to complete the tests and could affect students' scores. He said the three-week testing period helps a student who may be ill or just misses one of the tests. They would still have time to make it up under the state guidelines.
"We don't want to rush the process because the state has placed so much emphasis on the outcome of these tests," Dailey said. "We want to give our students every opportunity."
He said the board also wanted to give parents an opportunity to schedule next year's vacation week. With all that considered, the finished calendar was approved at the recent board meeting.
The calendar includes Sept. 3 as the first day of classes this fall and June 10 as the last day next year. Commencement is scheduled for June 8 and winter recess is set for Dec. 21 through Jan. 5. Conference days are set for Nov. 26 and Feb. 13.
Another change that may affect the next school year are waiver days, or days set aside for teacher in-service. Dailey said Poland has typically not participated in waiver days in past years, but may do so for 2013-14.
"This coming year we may need waiver days because of all the new legislation affecting our teachers and students," he said.
Dailey said Poland School District is actually taking a waiver day on April 15 this year. The district will participate in a program called, "Active shooter training for educators." The program is a four-hour block training session geared to empowering staff to intervene with individuals who could pose a danger to the schools and to promote communication with local law enforcement.
The training session is sponsored by the Ohio Attorney General's Office with cooperation from the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy.
"For clarification purposes, this has nothing to do with arming school employees with firearms," Dailey said. "The primary objective is to help educators and staff understand ways to prevent violence, respond and save lives."
Following the four-hour training session, the teachers and staff will take a break, then will regroup in the afternoon with members of the Mahoning County Educational Service Center. The afternoon program will deal with the new Common Core Standards of Ohio and the new Ohio Teacher Evaluation System.