MOORESVILLE – After the 1,400 responses collected by Mooresville Graded School District showed 71 percent of families were in favor of a nontraditional calendar, the district’s Board of Education voted in favor of that option for the 2019-20 school year.
At its Nov. 15 meeting, board members voted unanimously for a nontraditional school calendar that would start on Aug. 6, 2019, and end on May 21, 2020.
The nontraditional calendar also gives students a week off in October and a weeklong spring break in March.
“The proposed calendar does align much more with our local community college calendar, as well as it allows our high school students to complete their first semester courses and exams before our Christmas break,” MGSD Superintendent Stephen Mauney said. “So we strongly believe that this calendar better meets the needs of our students.”
MGSD Communications Officer Tanae Sump-McLean sent an email survey to parents in September with copies of both the traditional and nontraditional calendar options.
The traditional calendar option would have had the school year begin on Aug. 26, 2019, and end on June 4, 2020.
In her email, Sump-McLean pointed out the pros and cons of each option, saying that the nontraditional calendar would give two long breaks – one in fall and spring – that could help families travel during “cooler, off-peak seasons.”
She also pointed out that, if the nontraditional calendar was chosen, this upcoming summer would be shorter than usual, with the last day of school being June 7 and the first day being Aug. 6.
That will not be the case during the following summer, because school will get out on May 21, 2020.
In addition to a longer fall break, the nontraditional calendar also has several shorter breaks scattered throughout the year, which Sump-McLean said would “allow for student retention of material between sessions.”
Several other local school districts, including Iredell-Statesville Schools and Lincoln County Schools, have approved nontraditional calendars for next school year.
Iredell-Statesville’s first day will be Aug. 7 and Lincoln County Schools’ will be Aug. 12.
Although response to the idea of a nontraditional calendar was largely met with support, 29 percent of survey respondents voted to keep a traditional calendar for next year.
When Sump-McLean shared that the board had voted in favor of the nontraditional calendar on MGSD’s Facebook page, a number of parents commented in frustration, saying the shorter breaks throughout the year meant they would have to find child care more frequently at odd times of year.
Before calling them to a vote, Board Chairman Roger Hyatt told board members they “make lots of policies governing the operation of the school district.”
“And one of the most important ones … is designating the annual school calendar,” Hyatt said, “because it has all kinds of implications on student performance.”
In other business:
• Mooresville Intermediate School sixth-grader Bianca Gilmore was chosen to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Gilmore’s recommending teacher, Yasmyn Southerland, said in a letter to the board that Gilmore “is an awesome student who is always smiling and willing to help others.”
• The board unanimously approved several budget amendments, including one involving the ongoing Mooresville High School construction project; a revised beginning teacher support plan; a 2017-18 fiscal year audit report, which earned the highest level of assurance; and schools’ 2018-19 school improvement plans.
• Chief Operations Officer Michael Royal updated the board on Mooresville High School construction.
During the consent agenda briefing, Royal told board members that the Mooresville High School Performing Arts Center would undergo a county inspection Nov. 16.
Royal told the Mooresville Citizen Nov. 19 that the center had not passed the inspection because “a few minor modifications” need to be made to some handrails in the auditorium.
“The contractor is working to make these required modifications as quickly as possible,” Royal said by email.