21 Aug 2014
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District 203 Mulls Changing 2013-14 Graduation Date

A proposed high school graduation date is scheduled for May 27, but board members are looking at other options to avoid possible conflicts with student activities.

District 203 Mulls Changing 2013-14 Graduation Date

administrators have a difficult task of deciding where the high school graduation date should fall on the 2013-14 calendar - without causing too many conflicts for students, parents or teachers.

The issue arose during Wednesday night’s board of education meeting as members discussed the tentative calendar for the 2013-14 school year.

“Primarily the biggest conflict we have with that [2013-14 calendar] is the graduation date,” said Dan Bridges, who will become district interim superintendent July 1.

While next year’s graduation ceremonies are set for May 18, a proposed date of May 27 for the year after was mulled over last night. Administrators said they are aware that drafting a calendar is a balancing act, especially when it comes to choosing a graduation date.

With a graduation date that late in the 2013-14 school year, board members as well as Bridges are worried about conflicting with school athletic events, AP testing and college graduation ceremonies.

Bridges said he will be meeting with a calendar committee to discuss the issue further before it is brought back to the board to vote on June 18.

“With that group what we’ll be doing is looking at considering other options,” Bridges said. “All options, regarding when a graduation ceremony makes sense for all.”

On the opposite end of the school's calendar, Board member Susan Crotty said she would like to see the first day of school for 2013-14 pushed back to allow more time for student summer activities. Next year’s start date is Aug. 15 and tentatively scheduled for Aug. 21 the year after.

“From the committee’s work, that was one of the dates on this calendar that we did not reach complete consensus on,” Bridges said. 

As far as giving parents a chance to voice their opinions on the 2013-14 calendar, Board vice president Jackie Romberg said community input is valuable, but it should be done in an efficient way.

“I sometimes worry that we’re setting ourselves up for something we can’t be successful with by just sending it out versus just going to select groups and getting feedback,” Romberg said.

Regardless of how feedback is collected, Bridges said that looking at community input is broad-based to fit an overall preference. 

“We have to recognize that a calendar, as drafted and proposed, is not going to please everyone," he said. "We’re going to do the best that we can to build a calendar that we think is most reflective of what we need to do in the classroom.” 

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