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don’t want
shorter summer break
Calendar committee
will develop a proposal

by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark reporter

A recent survey conducted by the Park Hill School District reveals that a majority of the respondents are not in favor of a shorter summer break.

Despite longer breaks during the school year, only 26 percent of survey participants were in favor of a school calendar with a reduced summer break.

Mark Frost, assistant superintendent, presented the survey results to the board of education Thursday night.

The board seeks to reduce the number of days of summer break on the grounds that it will diminish a loss of knowledge that occurs over summer break.

The board has asked the calendar committee to present a proposal for the next school year taking into consideration the survey results, as well as the board's suggestion to reduce summer break.

The board outlined four principles for the calendar committee to utilize as a guide when developing their proposal for the upcoming year, including an academic calendar with a reduction of days to the summer break, a calendar which considers community input, an academic calendar that reflects the interest of Park Hill employees, as well as a calendar that fosters achievement, instruction, and assessment.

In December the board will hear the calendar committee's proposal, and will vote on the committee's recommendation in the month of January.

Students in the Park Hill School District attended 178 days in 2010, which is four days longer than the state average.

In 2011, summer break lasted 87 days for Park Hill. Students in the Platte County R-3 School District had a shorter summer break, lasting just 81 days.
According to the calendar survey, only 13 percent of participants “strongly agree” that extra days should be added to the upcoming academic calendars.

Twenty percent of participants remained neutral. Fifty percent of participants either “disagree” or “strongly disagree” that additional days should be added.

In other business at the board meeting, a process for the redistricting of all the Park Hill elementary schools boundaries was discussed. The adjustment must be made prior to the opening of the school district’s 10th elementary school, which is set to open August 2012.

Nine elementary school’s boundaries will be affected by the redistricting.

Currently, the district is accepting applications from the public to serve on the redistricting committee. The committee, led by Dr. Paul Kelly, assistant superintendent for business and technology, will include a member of the community residing in each of the nine elementary school boundaries.

The redistricting committee will examine the school district's enrollment to balance it equally among the 10 elementary schools.

Additionally, the redistricting committee will consider the issue of balancing socio-economic populations equally among the schools, minimizing the distance students are transported to and from school, as well as minimizing the overall number of students who must change schools.

Applications to serve on the redistricting committee must be received by Nov. 16.

Dr. Dennis Fisher, superintendent, and Denise Schnell, school board president, will make the final selection of committee members.