Monday, January 30, 2006

DC schools look to start term early

In order to have the Fall semester end before the Winter break DCPS is considering moving the start date of the 2006-2007 school year up to August 14th. This would make DCPS schools the earliest start date in the Metro area. However, many parents are unhappy with the proposed change and are letting themselves be heard.
"A lot of families have made arrangements for vacation in the summer. We've made arrangements for the week of Aug. 14, and the place we're going to requires a deposit," said Tracy Zorpette, who has three children enrolled at Murch Elementary School in Northwest Washington. Zorpette is on an e-mail list of parents mostly in Northwest who have organized an e-mail campaign against the proposal.

"Children from Murch were coming out of school in September dripping sweat" because the school lacked working air conditioners, she said. "Some teachers gave up work in the afternoon because it was so hot. If the goal is to increase student learning, I don't see how this will do it."

If the proposal is approved, D.C. students would begin classes a week before their peers in Prince George's County, which currently has the earliest start date in the region, and three weeks before students in most of Northern Virginia. Virginia law requires that school districts start classes after Labor Day unless they receive a waiver from the state.

The District school system appears to be the only one in the Washington area that has not announced a tentative or approved start date for the 2006-07 academic year.

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