By Daniel E. McGonigle
The Caledonia Argus
What started out as a committee of a few parents, teachers and two school board members, has grown into a series of meetings which are well attended.
The Caledonia Area Public School board held such a meeting on Monday, Sept. 16.
The topic, the extended school year.
Following feedback at a previously held meeting, the school board was pleased with public input on the topic.
The Sept. 16 meeting had the community members more informed about the topic and there was much less fear regarding any proposed changes.
Superintendent Craig Ihrke brought an example of Wabasha’s calendar, commonly known in the industry as a “fly calendar.”
Again, as to not initialize fear in the community regarding any proposed changes, the meetings are informational in nature, meant to give community members input into the process.
“The purpose of this meeting is to inform and ask any questions the public may have as it relates to the school district continuing their discussions about an extended school year,” said Ihrke.
The fly calendar he presented would have students begin their school year around mid-August.
They would then be let out for summer break sometime in the final weeks of May.
There would be more breaks built into a schedule like this as Wabasha and several other districts across Minnesota operate on such a calendar.
The district would need to get a waiver from the state department of education in order to begin in August before Labor Day.
This is something that is easily done.
Again, the district is in data collection mode regarding any changes to the school calendar.
While the community was level minded about the proposed change, the biggest concern was the impact on state fair attendance by our students.
The committee informed those parents that considerations would be made and they would not be punished for their attendance at the fair.
New principal Nathan Boler told the committee that a school in the Jackson County Central district, where he came from, had a fly calendar and that it worked well.
Additionally, much of the data done by the state of Minnesota shows that fly calendars impact student retention and learning in a positive way.
The main reason behind the possibility of making a change comes from learning retention for the students.
Another meeting is being planned for November and the district continues to welcome comments and co