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CCA proposes 2019-20 academic calendar

Dates to remember

OXFORD– The School Board of Directors for the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Community School District would like to hear from you, if you’ve got something to say about the 2019-20 academic calendar.
A public hearing will be held on the current proposed calendar on Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at Clear Creek Elementary (CCE) in Oxford.
District Superintendent Tim Kuehl presented the draft calendar to the board during a Monday, Nov. 19, regular meeting at CCE.
Once again, gubernatorial directives regarding school start dates have made crafting a calendar challenging. In the not-so-distant past, schools often started the year in late August, and then were allowed by the State of Iowa to start sooner. However, earlier start dates conflicted with the Iowa State Fair, and students presenting at the fair for 4-H and/or FFA. The start date then moved back to avoid the conflict, but pushed the end of the school year into June.
“It becomes a challenge next year with the governor establishing Aug. 23 (a Friday) as the earliest possible start date,” Kuehl said. The sample calendar shows CCA starting classes on Monday, Aug. 26, with the final day of classes on Thursday, June 4, 2020. Another challenge in finding a workable calendar centers on Christmas, which in 2019 is in the center of the week (Wednesday). “We could possibly have students come back (after a normal weekend) on Monday the 23rd, but we don’t think that would be a good choice,” Kuehl said. With New Year’s Day also on a Wednesday, a similar dilemma arose for Kuehl and the administrative team if students were to return to school after the Christmas break on Friday, Jan. 3. “We would recommend having a two-week break at Christmastime, so students would be off the 23rd of December through January third,” Kuehl said.
Classes would resume on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020.
The proposal sparked discussion of whether or not the district has historically resumed classes on Jan. 2 or Jan. 3. Board member Terry Davis said he thought classes had started up again on the second, with Kuehl saying, “I think we’ve always come back on the third.” The 2018-19 calendar has students returning on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2019. A consensus of the board and audience declared the district has returned on Jan. 2 at various times in the past.
“That would be a possibility, we could come back on the second,” Kuehl said.
One snow day make-up is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, April 17. “We could theoretically eliminate it and have it be a school day and bump up the end of the school year,” Kuehl said. Another possible make-up day is in January, but is also currently a professional development day for staff, and Kuehl recommended against using it as a school day instead. A change made by the Iowa Legislature moved districts from a requirement of 180 classroom days to 1,080 contact hours equaling an academic year. CCA typically builds in more than enough hours, creating something of a cushion and allowing for some flexibility in dealing with early-outs and late starts. Full snow days must be made up, however.
Graduation will again be on the Friday of the Memorial Day weekend (May 22, 2020), a change implemented last year, which moved the event from the Sunday of the three-day weekend.
The board will likely approve the calendar at its Dec. 19 meeting.