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Holloway opposes calendar change

Bulloch superintendent says earlier start helps students

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Posted: June 17, 2008 11:12 p.m.
Updated: July 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Holloway opposes calendar change

Dr. Lewis Holloway


     Georgia Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox plans to propose that public school classes begin later in August starting in 2009, but Bulloch County School Superintendent Dr. Lewis Holloway does not agree with the idea.
    Cox brought up the plan during a recent statewide conference call with superintendents, he said. She plans to pitch the proposal during the Georgia School Boards Association meeting over the weekend in Savannah.
    Cox hopes the move to begin classes in late August instead of the beginning of the month would help Georgia's standing in the federal No Child Left Behind requisites.
    The later start dates would allow state education officials to include retesting numbers when calculating Adequate Yearly Progress instead of using the failing scores many students receive the first time they take state standardized tests, according to reports.
    But Holloway does not support changing the Bulloch County school calendar, which he said is more beneficial for students in retaining things they learned over the summer break. Bulloch schools began the 2007-08 school year on Aug. 1 of last year and the 2008-09 school year is scheduled to begin Aug. 4.
    Cox discussed her idea "two weeks ago in a conference call," he said Tuesday. But, "I don't  think the school districts will support it."
    Doing so would "drastically affect our calendar, which reduces summer learning loss," he said.
    Cox is pushing to have all schools begin classes after Aug. 15, but doing so would not fit in the Bulloch County School calendar,, he said.
    The calendar shortens summer break, but extends other breaks throughout the school year, in order to lessen the time students have away from school. Holloway believes the shorter summer break reduces the chance students forget lessons and concepts learned during the school year.
    Holloway said Bulloch's calendar, as it stands, is "really good for the teachers and kids. It maximizes the preparation process for the CRCT (Criterion Referenced Competency Test).
    Cox's proposal likely stems from a scramble across the state for students to take remedial programs and then take the CRCT a second time because they failed the first.
    In some grades, passing portions of the test is mandatory for being promoted. Students, parents and educators have protested the test scores, especially in math, claiming the test did not accurately reflect the curriculum that was taught.
    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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