Balanced calendar offers opportunities for students

Submitted to the Herald Review 

LEROY — In an effort to offer better opportunities for students, Pine River Area Schools will be considering a school calendar for 2018-2019 that would end on May 31.

“In the proposed calendar, classes would begin more or less when they used to start, about two weeks before Labor Day,” said superintendent Matt Lukshaitis. “For next school year, this would be on Aug. 21.”

Pine River has students who dual enroll, and local colleges and universities start around this time, Lukshaitis added. Pine River has high school students who attend Baker College, of Cadillac, and Ferris State University. The proposed schedule would better match the college starting and finishing dates and better yet, would offer a semester one ending date at the end of December, just prior to winter break, like colleges and universities. The appeal of the semester break is that students won’t have to come back from winter vacation and spend two weeks in class trying to remember items from before break and then take semester exams.

“There are multiple advantages, really” Lukshaitis said. “We are examining moving eight school days from the back end to the front end of the calendar.”

The calendar as proposed would see classes end before June. There would not be a full five-day week of school until the week of Sept. 10 (one week after Labor Day) which mirrors how Pine River starts now. School would start two weeks after fall sports begin as opposed to one month after fall sports begin. Additionally, the start and finish dates should help with the post-Memorial Day blahs experienced in school. Teachers and administrators note that when June hits and the suns gets hot, many kids have a hard time getting excited about two or three more weeks of school.

“State law has extended the school year another full week and we are looking for a more balanced solution than simply tacking on days and hours to the end of the school year as we were forced to do this year,” said Lukshaitis.

Pine River Area Schools will consider public comment at the regular March Board of Education meeting set for 6 p.m. on Monday, March 12, in the middle school-high school library.

“We’d like to hear from parents and community members,” said the Superintendent.

A vote to approve the calendar is set for the April 9 board meeting.