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Francis Howell Board Gets First Look At 2012-13 Calendar

Board also approved mass messaging system at Thursday's meeting.

The first day of school for Francis Howell students could once again be Aug. 8.

For the first time, members of the Francis Howell Board of Education and the public got a look at the proposed calendar for the 2012-13 school year during the Sept. 15 meeting. The first draft has Francis Howell students back in the classrooms on Aug. 8, 2012. 

Chief Human Resources Officer Dr. Steven Griggs was the chief builder of the calendar. Griggs sought feedback from teachers before setting things up. After teacher's expressed concern with a Monday start for school, the District's plans have students coming back on a Wednesday. Griggs said he found that teachers wanted a shorter week to help ease back into school.

Another issue that was brought up to Griggs was that the school year started too early. Francis Howell's first day was one of the earliest in the area—two days before Orchard Farm and St. Charles and a week-and-a-half before Fort Zumwalt. Despite the concerns, the first day wasn't pushed back. This year if the first year that all levels of Francis Howell students are on the same schedule after the District ended the year-long elementary cycle. Griggs said he didn't want to change things too much because the District needs time to see how things work.

Some other notes on the proposed calendar:

  • The last day on the proposed calendar, minus snow days, is set for Thursday, May 22, 2013. 
  • Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012, will be a professional development day. Class will not be in session on that day. 
  • The fall break (Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 to Friday, Oct. 12, 2012) is still on the calendar. 
  • Students return from school from winter break on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. The original plan was to come back Friday, but a one-day school week didn't seem like a good idea, Griggs said.

A complete version of the draft calendar can be found here. The Board will vote on the calendar at the Oct. 20, 2011 meeting.

Board Approves Mass Notification System

With a 6-1 vote the Board approved a brand new mass notification system.

For the cost of $14,800 the District will purchase a mass notification system from School Messenger. The system will allow messages to be delivered via text, email, cell phones, home phones, work phones and pagers. Parents will have to sign up for the system and be able to chose which medium is used.

There was concern about the nature of the system and if it would be used too much. Chief Information Officer Ray Eernisse said that wouldn't be the case. He said the messages would only be used for things like early dismissal, snow days and things of that nature. The system wouldn't be used to announce things like upcoming sporting events. 

Eernisse said the District is only entering into a one-year contract to do a trial run of the system.

Policy Approved

The much debated, and once rejected, policy changes finally passed at Thursday's meeting.

The Board  at the July 21 meeting. Unhappy with the language, the Board sent the policies dealing with strategic committees, standing committees and task forces back to the drawing board. The revised policies were presented at the meeting. 

Policy 0360 passed 6-1 with Board Director Mike Hoehn voting no. Regulation 0360 and Policy 3350 passed 7-0.

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