Competing desires makes the annual establishment of a school calendar, a matter of deliberation each year in many school districts, including Cherokee.
The competing desires include starting the school year later than mid-August, having the first semester end before Christmas break and having the two semesters nearly equal in length.
John Chalstrom, superintendent of the Cherokee School District, requested input from the school board members at the Monday evening board meeting on a direction to go in developing a calendar.
Chalstrom noted that there were complaints both about the early start and the unbalanced semester lengths. There is a six day difference between semesters, (87 and 93). A potential problem that didn't occur this year is that snow days in the first semester are tacked onto the end of the year, making the semesters even more unbalanced.
The difference in semester lengths has little or no impact in elementary schools or in courses that are year long in high school. However, the difference in semester length does have an effect on what can be taught in one semester courses.
Chalstrom recommended that the first semester length not be shortened to any less than 88 days, which would make second semester 92 days.
Chalstrom had tentative agendas available for the board to review, one with a start date of Aug. 16 and the other with a start date of Aug. 21 and one with a start date later but with the semester ending after Christmas break.
Kirk Ebel, board member, suggested that if the first semester does end after Christmas break, that there be some time, perhaps two weeks after the end of break before the end of the semester so students do not have semester tests immediately after the break.
Chalstrom also raised the possibility of having two different calendars, one for K-8 and one for high school. Another question that regularly comes up in the Cherokee School District is whether or not to have a week-long spring break.
The matter was a discussion item and no formal action was taken on approving a calendar at the Monday meeting.