Students in six local districts will use similar calendars in 2008-09, the results of three years of tweaking dates and schedules by officials in Newport News, Hampton, York County, Williamsburg- James City County, Gloucester County and Poquoson.
The district calendars align with each other and with the New Horizons Regional Education Center.
Q:Why are the districts lining up their calendars?
A:Students from the six districts attend high school programs at New Horizons, which has campuses in Newport News and Hampton. It offers science, technology and career programs for high school juniors and seniors. New Horizons also has special-education programs for younger students from the six districts. The districts decided to align their calendars to help decrease absences and conflicts for their students, who otherwise would be juggling their home school district's calendar and the New Horizons schedule.
Q: Are there other reasons they decided on a regional calendar?
A: Officials said it would help teachers and staff who worked in one district but lived in another. There will be fewer work disruptions and absences caused by incompatible schedules. Officials also said a regional calendar allowed districts to ease scheduling conflicts for regional events and competitions, including athletics.
Q: Which dates are the same?
A: The first day of school, the beginnings and endings of quarters and semesters, winter and spring breaks, major holidays and several teacher training days are all the same on the six districts' calendars. For example, they will begin school Sept. 2. They will close for winter break Dec. 22 to Jan. 2. Spring break is scheduled for April 6 to 13.
Q: Are there differences in the calendars?
A: Some of the districts have kept traditional days off, or school days. For example, Newport News students will not have school the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. York schools will be closed on Veterans Day. Gloucester schools are in session on Presidents Day. The districts also have days built into their calendars to make up missed classes if schools are closed for inclement weather.
Q: What about year-round schools?
A: Newport News and Hampton are the only districts with year-round schools. Most of those are elementary and middle schools. Those schools — and An Achievable Dream Middle and High School, which opened this year — will continue to use year-round calendars that aren't aligned to the regional calendar.
Q: Where can I find my school district's proposed 2008-09 calendar?
A: Check your school district's Web site or call your school board office. Some districts, such as Newport News, have approved the calendar.
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