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Kettering classes will start two weeks earlier in 2012

Photo: Illustration by Rob Bowling

By Tristan Buirley, Staff Writer

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Starting in 2012, the Kettering School District will move the school calendar up by two weeks, with the first day for students set for Aug. 14 that year. But before you freak out completely, take note that this doesn’t mean a longer school year. Instead, students and teachers in Kettering schools will begin the following summer vacation earlier, too – in mid-May 2013.

Moving up the calendar

Dr. James Schoenlein, district superintendent, says the move is inspired by the state testing that takes place in the spring. He feels the earlier start will give teachers more time to prepare students for the high-stakes tests, such as the OGT.

“The standardized test scores associated with the State Report Card are crucial to this school system. How we do on the State Report Card affects the confidence our community has in its schools and therefore its support for its schools,” Schoenlein said. “We must do well.”

Schoenlein said he recognizes there may be some inconveniences with starting the school year in mid-August. “But we can add a full 10 days of additional test prep time. This will have a major impact on our test performance,” he said.

The superintendent said the calendar shift is not a state mandate, and he is unaware of any other area school districts making their start date earlier. However, he feels Kettering residents and staff will handle the adjustment smoothly.

“I believe our community, teachers and staff will understand the benefits involved and will quickly adjust to the new school year,” he said. “We don’t see any major issues involved in moving the school year forward except the rearranging of vacations.”

Breaks after the calendar change will occur around the times that they do now, with only a few changes that are affected by Fairmont’s four nine-week grading periods. For example, Winter Break will mark the end of first semester, but that also means semester exams will occur the week before Winter Break.

Effect on staff and students

The schedule shift will affect all of Kettering’s elementary and middle schools, as well as Fairmont High School. Several teachers and students at Fairmont who are aware of the schedule shift don’t seem to have any major problems with the plan.

Fairmont teacher Cyndi Lewis says she doesn’t really have to worry about the move because her two chemistry classes don’t have an OGT to take. “I’ll have to worry about this move, however, when the End of Course exam date is set by the state,” said Lewis.

Lewis’ children attend Tecumseh Local Schools, and they already start a week before Lewis does. As such, she says, the calendar move isn’t going to change the fact that she and her kids don’t start school at the same time. It just means she’ll start a week before they do.

Lewis’s major concern instead involves her backyard pool. “I spend most of my summer in my pool, but I don’t own a heater, so it isn’t warm until late June and doesn’t reach the ideal temperature until late August,” said Lewis. “With calendar moving up, I won’t have as much time to spend in my pool.”

Students also have their ideas about this new schedule. Sophomore Saleh Hindi is sad to see the summer of 2012 cut short, but he knows that it has its benefits. “It’s going to make people want a longer summer, and there’s going to be more complaining,” said Hindi. “Then again, some people just like to complain. But I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”

Most students seem pretty nonchalant about the changes. “As long as we’re in school the same amount of time, I don’t see a problem,” said sophomore Olivia Fisher.

Sophomore Jackie Heikes’ only concern involves family preparation for the change. “I’m fine with it as long as my family doesn’t have anything planned for those two weeks.”

Alana Chapman actually sees some advantages with starting earlier in 2012. “I think it’s going to benefit a lot of students by keeping ideas fresh in their mind over the summer,” the sophomore said. “Also, I’m cool with getting out earlier that year.”

However, Chapman does have one concern. “It might make Marching Band practices earlier in the summer, and I don’t like that,” she said.

Effect on school activities

Indeed, the calendar change will affect the dates for some school-related activities, including Marching Band and fall sports.

“It’s going to be interesting,” said Director of Bands Michael Berning. Instead of Band Camp starting the first week of August like it always has, Berning will have to rearrange it because of the Aug. 14 date for the first day of school. “Hopefully, Wright State will have an opening for us.”

The problems the new calendar causes Berning don’t stop as school starts. “There will be a lot of little things that will add up to be a pain,” he said. One of those small problems is how the first semester exams will affect the Holiday Concert, the school-wide concert that typically takes place the day before break starts in December.

Berning also sees some event-scheduling problems at the end of the school year in 2013. The Band and Choir concert that’s usually held at the Fraze at the end of the school year poses an issue because the Fraze doesn’t open until the end of May, but school will end in the middle of May.

Another school activity that will see changes to its schedule is Fairmont Football. “We haven’t finalized anything yet, but what this change essentially means is that we are going to have to really squeeze the life out those first 10 to 14 days of August before school starts,” said Varsity Head Coach Andrew Aracri. This change is going to give the team less time before school begins to have their two-a-day practices, and once school starts, there won’t be enough time in the day to have the two-a-days.

However, Aracri also has some positive views about the schedule change. Aracri said he believes change is a good and exciting thing, and he keeps a positive attitude about it because he knows that he can’t change it. He said he’ll make sure this change becomes a positive for the football team.

“We have a great coaching staff here at Fairmont, and I know that we will sit down and devise a great summer practice schedule for our players that will prepare them in the best way to be successful in the 2012 season,” said Aracri.

“This might sound crazy,” he added, “but I’m kind of excited to see how things play out.”

9 Comments

9 Responses to “Kettering classes will start two weeks earlier in 2012”

  1. Allie Hattery on March 2nd, 2011 11:21 am

    Well, this will sure mess up band practice and band camp :P curses… But hey, it’ll be ’13’s senior year. It might be a little fun for us, who knows?

    [Reply]

  2. Robert Pace on March 3rd, 2011 10:49 am

    That means we we’ll get out of school in May.

    [Reply]

    Rob Bowling II Reply:

    Yes, it does, but I think in the future they’ll do something to work out the band problem. I’ve heard many complaints about the shift, but maybe it is the best for the future young adults of Fairmont. 2013 seniors will be the only ones who have to deal with the huge portion of the madness that is to come, but after that I’m sure everything will be fine, no worries.

    [Reply]

  3. sierra bauer on March 18th, 2011 2:36 pm

    I think this does help with the whole summer deal. We get to have more summer and it is easier to plan summer vacations.

    [Reply]

  4. Garrett Marksberry on March 21st, 2011 8:32 am

    I don’t think this is a big deal. I mean, if we have the same amount of days what’s the point of moving the starting day up two weeks? It seems pretty pointless to me. I wouldn’t mind going to school on the same day that we always have.

    [Reply]

  5. Chuck Greene on March 24th, 2011 12:44 pm

    Best feature of 2012-13 schedule change: end of first semester coinciding with Christmas Break.

    .

    [Reply]

  6. Spencer Wolf on April 11th, 2011 6:33 pm

    Teachers don’t need more time for OGT. Teachers need to wake up, that’s what they need. The core subject teachers spend most of their time complaining about not having enough time, or better yet, their lives outside of school, or ranting about nonsense topics. I believe we should focus school time on school, what it’s intended on. The students are not therapists, they don’t get paid to listen to teachers complain about the SB 5 bill, or about their home lives, or other classes. Students are students, they get paid in an education, which most teachers are starting not to provide. A lot of teachers have come to let students to do whatever they want in class. Whether it’s sleep, text, talk about illegal activities, or listen to their MP3 players. Some teachers have no control of their classes either, eventually it becomes so crazy that it’s more of a day care than a place of learning.

    So inconveniencing everyone else just to allow teachers something which most will take for granted and not use wisely, is inconsiderate not to just the students, and some of the staff, but Kettering as a whole.

    If the teachers don’t have enough time to cover all the OGT lesson plans they made, maybe the issue isn’t the amount of time they have, maybe the issue is the teachers themselves. If they can’t teach everything they need to teach, then they shouldn’t get paid what they would if they taught it all. Make what you earn. Don’t break the system for them, that’s going to soften them. The school needs discipline, if you bend the rules for unnecessary things, then you end up losing the value of all the rules. Teach the teachers a lesson. They could use one.

    [Reply]

  7. Spencer Wolf on April 15th, 2011 7:50 pm

    ^ My above statement is not toward all teachers, it’s toward a lot. Not most teachers, not all teachers, but a lot. A lot of Fairmont teachers are amazing, but some are just as described above. ^

    [Reply]

  8. Debbie on January 2nd, 2013 8:22 am

    HATE this new schedule. It’s too cold to even swim in mid-May and the kids go back during the hottest part of the summer — when pools are OPEN. It is beyond ridiculous and a HUGE inconvenience!!!! Go back to the kids starting AFTER Labor Day!!!!!

    [Reply]

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The school newsmagazine of Kettering Fairmont High School.
Kettering classes will start two weeks earlier in 2012