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School Board considers earlier first day for 2015

In 2015, the first day of school in the Glencoe-Silver Lake school district will be Tuesday, Sept. 8, due to a later Labor Day holiday, and Superintendent Chris Sonju suggested to the GSL School Board changing the school calendar so that school begins Tuesday, Sept. 1.
Sonju said at workshop session Nov. 24 that when school districts wish to change a school calendar, they must go through a legislative process, as Minnesota state law requires public schools to begin after Labor Day.
“We have to start with our representative, Glenn Gruenhagen, if we want to change the calendar, and he will bring it forward in the legislative session in January,” Sonju said.
“What are some reasons to change the calendar?” Board Member Donna VonBerge asked.
Sonju said there are reasons from both academic and financial standpoints, and commented that school would start one week earlier, which gives students another week in the classroom before MCA testing.
Business Manager Michelle Sander noted there will be three football games and four volleyball games before school even begins next year, as well as tennis matches, soccer games and cross country meets. She commented when school is in session, more spectators are in attendance at sporting events.
Elementary Principal Bill Butler commented that there is little to no effect if there are more contact days in a school year before MCA testing and attributed students’ learning to the quality of teaching.
“But personally, I like getting the kids in early to school, especially kindergarten students, to get into that routine. But as far as higher test scores, I think it’s only relevant if you look at the whole calendar,” Butler said, talking about school vacation and break days.

For more, see the Dec. 3 print edition of The Chronicle.