As does neighboring Decatur, DeKalb schools will now follow a “balanced” calendar, which means a shorter summer and more breaks during the year for the system’s nearly 100,000 students.
And like Decatur, DeKalb is adopting the new calendar even though surveys show parents prefer the longer summer. DeKalb will move to the balanced calendar next year.
The school board voted 6-2 Monday for the new calendar. (Board member Sarah Copelin-Wood was absent.) It will clip nearly two weeks from summer break and sprinkle those vacation days in fall and winter.
Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson has said students forget too much during the traditional three-month summer break. She proposed the new calendar after a survey showed most teachers wanted it.
School will start Aug. 5 instead of Aug. 12 and will end May 29 instead of May 23. This will allow a three-day fall break from Oct. 7 to Oct. 9 and a four-day winter break — Feb. 18 to Feb. 21 — tacked onto President’s Day.
In a recent online survey taken by about 4,300 parents, 59 percent favored the traditional calendar versus 41 percent for the balanced calendar, said Deputy Superintendent Kathleen Howe.
Teachers, however, overwhelmingly wanted the change. Howe said a survey was distributed to all teachers, and nearly 5,800 took it: 68 percent wanted a balanced calendar.
That led board members including Donna Edler to support the change. Teachers bore the brunt of budget cuts this year, and Edler said this was a concession she was willing to make.
–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog