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Prairie City News

Fall break proposed for 2019-2020 school year

The one year break coincides with PLC conference

PCM Superintendent Brad Jermeland explains the proposed fall break for the Professional Learning Communities conference to the school board during its regular monthly meeting Monday.
PCM Superintendent Brad Jermeland explains the proposed fall break for the Professional Learning Communities conference to the school board during its regular monthly meeting Monday.

A draft of the 2019-20 school calendar was presented to the PCM School Board during its regular meeting Monday. New for the district is a fall break in October coinciding with a three-day conference on Professional Learning Communities (PLC) for teachers.

“One of the things we are trying to address internally is we have had some teachers that have been to the PLC conference … and some that haven’t,” superintendent Brad Jermeland said. “I think that if we can invest and have everybody go to the PLC conference then everybody gets the same foundation, the same background knowledge and the same starting place for the work they are trying to accomplish.”

The conference, which takes places in Des Moines, is scheduled for October 21 through 23 which runs Monday through Wednesday in the school week. Jermeland said he was hoping it would run Wednesday through Friday, but that was not the case for this year. The fall break for the conference would be a one-time occurrence for next school year only.

According to school district policy, it is the responsibility of the superintendent to develop the school calendar for recommendation, approval and adoption by the board annually. The board may amend the official school calendar when it considers the change to be in the best interests of the school district’s education program.

The first day of school is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 23, a Friday with an open house at the school Aug. 20. The final day for students is projected for May 28, a Thursday, with a workday for teachers the following day. Graduation is moved from Memorial Day weekend to the next Sunday, May 31.

The school calendar set is for at least the state minimum requirement and should include, but not be limited to, the days for student instruction, staff development, in-service days and teacher conferences. The academic school year for students is for a minimum of 180 days or 1,080 hours in the school calendar. Jermeland said as it currently sits, the calendar has students in the classroom for 1,135 hours.

According to state law, the academic school year for students may not begin prior to Aug. 23. Employees, on the other hand, may be required to report to work at the school district prior to this date.

The board, in its discretion, may excuse graduating seniors from up to five days or 30 hours of instruction after the school district requirements for graduation have been met. For the next school year, the final day of classes for seniors is set for May 21.

A public hearing was approved for the Feb. 18 board meeting for the 2019-20 school calendar.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com

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