Next year’s Flagler Schools calendar may come down to minutes.
At a School Board workshop on Tuesday, Nov. 28, board members agreed to add seven minutes a day, one minute per class period, for the two high schools. That way, the district will be able to preserve other scheduling priorities.
The calendar committee is scheduled to meet on Dec. 4. With the board’s recommendation, the committee can proceed in putting together the 2024-25 district calendar. The board will then have final approval of the calendar.
Louise Bossardet, the school district’s coordinator of data quality, said the earliest start day for districts is Aug. 10, but since Aug. 10, 2024, falls on a Saturday, the earliest start day next year is Aug. 12.
District priorities include ending the first semester before winter break, balancing the number of days in each quarter and meeting the minimum number of instructional minutes in each semester as required by state statute.
Community and board priorities include having a full week off for Thanksgiving break and giving students the day off when schools are used as polling sites on election days.
Bossardet noted that five schools are used as polling sites, and students have been off-campus on polling days every year since 2016-17. Election days next school year are Aug. 20 (primary) and Nov. 5 (Election Day). For parents, the full week for Thanksgiving has been a top priority.
Without compromising one of the priorities, the first semester would have 85 days and the second semester would have 94 days, and the district would not meet the required instructional minutes for high schools.
By adding seven minutes a day, there would be enough instructional minutes in an 85-day semester, Bossardet said.
The added minutes would push the end of the day for high schools from 2:40 p.m. to 2:47. Instead of 60 minutes between high school and elementary school releases, there will be 53 minutes, which is enough time between bus runs, Bossardet said, noting that 55 minutes is “the sweet spot.”
“We would work with transportation to see if any other adjustments need to be added,” she said.
Elementary schools and middle schools would not be affected.