Northeast Tarrant

Carroll, GCISD officials study 2017-18 calendar options

Teacher Sharon Robinson sings “Who stole a cookie?” as a "finding a new friend" exercise for the first day of school at Jack D. Johnson Elementary in Southlake Aug. 22, 2016. For 2017, the first day of classes for Carroll schools is likely to be Aug. 28.
Teacher Sharon Robinson sings “Who stole a cookie?” as a "finding a new friend" exercise for the first day of school at Jack D. Johnson Elementary in Southlake Aug. 22, 2016. For 2017, the first day of classes for Carroll schools is likely to be Aug. 28. Special to the Star-Telegram

Carroll students likely will begin the 2017-18 school year on Aug. 28, almost a week later than the current school year, because of the state requirement that public school districts may not begin classes before the fourth Monday in August. Grapevine-Colleyville schools may begin earlier, if trustees approve a district of innovation plan.

At recent board meetings, officials in the two districts discussed options for next year’s academic calendar.

For Carroll, Janet McDade, assistant superintendent for student services, presented at the Jan. 9 board meeting the results of an online survey that looked at three calendar options. Options 1 and 2 ended the first semester in December while the third had semester break in January. Option 2 had a shorter winter break and ended the school year June 1 while the other two ended June 6.

More than 600 people took the calendar survey with slightly more people preferring Option 1 to Option 2 and much less support for Option 3, McDade said.

Trustee Danny Gilpin, who serves on the committee that creates the calendar options, said the majority of teachers and staff favored Option 1 with two full weeks for winter break rather than ten days. The shorter holiday in Option 2 would allow more time for summer school before state re-testing and for college enrichment programs.

Officials said teachers were reluctant to support semester exams before break because of the much shorter first session while parents didn’t want a shorter winter break.

McDade said the only way for Carroll to start earlier than Aug. 28 is to approve a district of innovation plan, which is at least a three month process. She said trustees could consider it for the following year, as the late August start would impact the calendar in future years.

Trustee Sheri Mills said if the board decides to pursue an innovation plan for the following year, the summer break would be shorter in 2018, especially if school ended June 6.

Officials plan to have trustees vote on the 2017-18 calendar at the Jan. 23 board meeting.

Grapevine-Colleyville officials are close to completing their district of innovation process, and trustees likely will vote on the plan at the February 27 board meeting.

Rick Westfall, GCISD’s deputy superintendent, gave basic calendar guidelines on two options at last month’s board meeting: one with the standard Aug. 28 start and one with an earlier start, if the district of innovation plan is approved.

Westfall said the calendar probably will be on the February board agenda, in addition to the innovation plan.

Sandra J. Engelland: 817-390-7323, @SandraEngelland

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