The Kamloops-Thompson School District posted next year’s school calendar online on Tuesday, and it may just be the last traditional schedule the community sees.
The provincial government is now allowing B.C.’s school districts to determine their own calendars. And although it was too late make adjustments for 2013-2014, there’s a possibility the following year could vary wildly.
It’s a wide open playing field, and the community gets its say at an open public meeting with school board trustees at the Henry Grube Centre on March 6 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Changing the established schedule is not as easy as it may appear, said district Assistant Supt. Karl deBruijn.
“Right away people think it’s nice to be able to have that flexibility . . . in theory according to this legislation you can have a different calendar for every school,” he said. “Of course, a different calendar for every school and every district would be pretty complex.”
He pointed to sports competition seasons, provincial exams and community summer camp and daycare programs as a few examples of the way schools are interconnected with each other, other districts and outside organizations.
Extended holidays in the summertime also allow for elaborate maintenance and repair work in schools, he said.
“It’s work that you can’t really accomplish when the building is populated with students and teachers.”
Before a decision is made, the district and board want to hear suggestions and rationales for various school calendars.
Staff will provide a few examples during the March 6 meeting, like a four-day week, a “balanced” approach that sees the same number of school days per month or something that resembles the traditional model.
“We’ll bring forward some and say, ‘This is what it looks like and this is some of the challenges that may be faced by this type of calendar,’” said deBruijn.
He also hopes to provide avenues for comment other than public meetings, like a survey tool or special email address dedicated solely to this topic.
“It would be nice to get something out there that… would be convenient to (parents),” he said.
School boards have until March 2014 to settle on a new calendar, which must span a minimum of one year and a maximum of three.