UPDATE Thursday Feb. 15:  Hamilton County school board members approved a new calendar for 2018-19.  Despite a committee recommendation last week, there will be no changes to the Thanksgiving week schedule.

Here are highlights: Teachers report Wed. August 1st.  Students report one week later, Wed. August 8th. Fall break will be October 8-12. Thanksgiving week will be observed the same as years past.  Classes will be held Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 19-20), with no school Wednesday through Friday Nov. 21-23).

Christmas vacation will begin Thursday December 20th.  Teachers return Thursday January 3, with students returning Monday January 8.

Spring break in 2019 will be from March 18-22. The last day for students is May 23rd.


PREVIOUS STORY FROM FEB. 10:

The proposed changes to the Hamilton County schools calendar are triggering a wide range of opinions.

Supporters call a common-sense approach to making the most of educational time. Opponents, like District 1 School Board member Rhonda Thurman, call it a "disaster."

County school officials are asking for community input during the next few days.

The survey can be accessed at www.hcde.org under the "District News" section.

The most controversial change would change the Thanksgiving break, traditionally Wednesday through Friday, into a full week.  Some teachers have called the current calendar, which requires classes on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, as a poor academic time due to high absenteeism.  The proposed calendars would also start the school year a day earlier in August, and would require classes on Presidents Day in February, now considered a school holiday. 

Thurman blasted the proposed calendar changes at Thursday's School Board work session, saying there are too many "starts and stops," with a full week off in October, another in November, followed the the traditional Christmas/New Year's break.

Board members will continue discussion at next Thursday's monthly meeting, with pressure to approve a calendar so that families can make plans for fall vacation time and child care. Committee members stressed that the previously announced October fall break would remain unchanged no matter which calendar option is selected.

Here is the announcement from Hamilton County schools:

"A Calendar Committee made up of parents, community members, and staff met for three weeks and looked at the school system calendar to provide options for the board to consider regarding a new school calendar for next year. The group developed a calendar that focused on three areas of importance.

  1. Seek to eliminate short weeks (2 or 3 days) due to poor attendance of students and teachers believing these days to be unproductive academic days
  2. Place a Professional Development Day at the end of the year for teacher professional development
  3. Bring consistency to major breaks from year-to-year 

The board had previously considered a draft in November that included a calendar format that had been used for the last few years in the school system.

The two calendars are provided for parents and the community to consider and provide your thoughts regarding a new school calendar. Please review the calendars and take this short survey to share how you feel regarding calendar options.

The Calendar Committee also developed a calendar for 2019-2020 to provide

The calendars are:

2018-2019 Calendar Option #1 (The original draft of the calendar)

2018-2019 Calendar Option #2 (The committee draft of the calendar)

2019-2020 Calendar Option #1 (Based on the original draft)

2019-2020 Calendar Option #2 (Developed by the committee)"

The survey begins with a question asking the respondent about "your connection to the school system," whether it be parent, student, community member or staff."

It is followed by a question asking which 2018-19 calendar option the respondent prefers: Option 1 (the current 3-day Thanksgiving break), or Option 2 (newly proposed full-week Thanksgiving break).

The same question is posed about the 2019-20 calendar, with the explanation of seeking to get a year ahead in planning.

Question 4 has been criticized by some about being written in a somewhat leading style, possibly reflecting the opinions of the committee that is recommending the proposed new calendar. Under the heading "Thanksgiving break options," the first choice reads, "I like reducing unproductive academic days and the two day week at Thanksgiving." The second choice is "I prefer the three day break."  Also listed are two other options: "I like the week, but do not want to give up President's Day, and "I have no preference."