District 211 to Adopt Collegiate-Style Calendar for 2016 – 2017 Academic Year

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District 211 logoDistrict 211 has adopted a new school calendar to better utilize instruction time for both students and teachers.

At its Jan. 15 board meeting, the Board of Education approved the school calendar for the 2016-2017 academic year, which will change the traditional calendar District 211 has used for many years to a collegiate-style calendar. With the new calendar, first semester, including final exams, will end in December before students leave for winter break.

“The proposed calendar will inherently sustain a rigorous focus on learning and academics all the way up to the winter break,” said Dan Cates, superintendent of schools. “In the traditional calendar, students and teachers would have good instructional momentum into December and then take a two-week break, only to have to re-establish their focus upon their return, and then two weeks later take a final exam that is supposed to measure their learning for the entire semester.”

In order to maximize the value of each instructional day, the District investigated the impact of its traditional school calendar. The District then consulted with school districts that have adopted a similar collegiate calendar. Additionally, information was gathered on alignment of school calendars between District 211 and Elementary Districts 15 and 54, the impact of a collegiate calendar on IHSA student athletics, the adjustment to teacher routines and practices under a collegiate calendar, as well as survey data of District 211 parents, students, and staff.

“We sought and received a remarkable number of responses from parents, students and our staff members,” Cates said. “We had a total of 5,225 responses to our survey about the school calendar. Across all three groups, the responses were consistently and equally compelling: 70 to 75 percent of the respondents among parents, students and staff members preferred the proposed collegiate-style calendar.”

Although the District received requests to adopt the new calendar in the upcoming year, waiting until the 2016-2017 school year will give families and the community time to plan around the changes.

The calendar begins on Thursday, August 11, 2016, with a teacher institute day, followed by a second teacher institute day on Friday, August 12, 2016, and the first day of student attendance is on Monday, August 15, 2016.  This design provides the opportunity to schedule the entire first semester prior to the start of winter break, with final examinations occurring on the last three days of first semester, December 21-23.

Second semester begins on January 9, 2017, with a teacher institute day and students returning from winter break on January 10, 2017; final examinations being held on May 24-26, 2017; and the semester ending at the end of the day on May 26, 2017, prior to the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

“By changing the school calendar, we will make full use of our instructional days, more closely align our students’ preparation with what they will experience in college and allow students to have a true break between semesters,” Cates said.

Additional information on the 2016-2017 school calendar is available here.