officials will consider starting the school year before Labor Day next year, according to Superintendent Robert Gross.
The school year would begin the last week of August, Gross said at the school board's Sept. 26 curriculum and technology committee meeting.
To balance out the earlier start date, school would also let out a week earlier, he said.
Gross said the new date would coordinate better with the Lehigh Career & Technical Institute schedule and allow for more instructional time for standardized tests.
“If you look at the March, April, May testing calendar, the PSSA’s, Keystone Exams—everything—is moving earlier into the year,” Gross explained.
Although students would gain only a few extra days, Gross said it would allow for "a few extra concepts" to be taught.
Gross said there are a few concerns to an earlier start date, such as possibly interfering with students who work at amusement parks or have other seasonal jobs. But he said that it would be a trade off because the students would be getting out of school a week earlier.
In addition, the earlier start date could interfere with students’ family vacation plans, which Gross said is one of the reasons the board needs to make a decision soon on the plan.
Gross said that all of the teachers he has talked to about the earlier start date have been pleased with the idea.
“Speaking as a teacher, it was wonderful (to have a pre-Labor Day start date.),” said Harry S. Truman Principal Barbara Samide. “You have to time to get into a routine, have a relaxing Labor Day weekend and then it’s back to business.”
If the school board votes to accept the earlier start date, a memorandum will be attached to the teachers’ contract.
Gross said he also spoke with other districts who have switched to a pre-Labor Day start and the responses he received were overwhelmingly positive. In addition, he said about five other schools in the Lehigh Valley are looking to change their start dates to before Labor Day as well.
This issue will be discussed again at the October 31 curriculum and technology meeting and there will be a vote at the December 5 meeting.