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TCS to vote on school calendar

As part of the recently approved 2010-2011 calendar for Pike County Schools, spring break has been bumped back to the week of April 11-15 next year.

Typically spring break falls in mid-March for local schools, and next Monday, Troy City Schools is expected to make a similar decision in its spring break plans.

Pike County Schools Superintendent Mark Bazzell said one of the main reasons for scheduling the break later in the year was faculty concerns about students being out of class an entire week just prior to standardized testing.

“The overwhelming response…requested that it be moved to a later date,” Bazzell said.

Numerous faculty members e-mailed that request after they were presented with a proposed calendar for the 2010-2011 school year that had spring break falling on a week in March.

While students involved in curriculums such as Global Studies may have to make some adjustments under the new scheduling, program directors say it’s only a minor inconvenience.

“It’s no big deal. We just go with the flow. We make it work,” said Phyllis Wilson, who supervises the Global Studies program which allows high school students to take college courses through Troy University.

Wilson said in previous years, when K-12 spring breaks did not run concurrently with that of Troy University’s, Global Studies students were able to adapt relatively effortlessly.

“It didn’t seem to matter a bit to them,” she said. “And the professors were great.

“The people at Troy (University) are wonderful.”

Wilson said in the past, university instructors have been willing to work with students who had plans to travel abroad or take a family vacation.

Nathan Fordham, head coach for the Pike County High School baseball team, said the rescheduling could be good for his program.

“It could really be a benefit for us. It could possibly give us some more opportunities for tournament play.”

Fordham explained a lot of the schools PCHS plays against have a later spring break, and under the new calendar, the Bulldogs should have an easier time coordinating schedules with them without an interruption in March.

Bazzell recalled working with similar time frames back when he was a coach.

“Historically spring break has been in April,” he said. “In recent years it was moved up to March.”

So while the new schedule may seem foreign as compared to recent years, it could actually be a return to the norm.

The Troy City Schools Board of Education will vote on its proposed calendar on April 26.

At least some faculty members in that system share the opinion of many Pike County educators.

“Some teachers suggested we complete the testing before spring break starts,” said TCS Superintendent Linda Felton-Smith.

Felton-Smith explained that a mid-April spring break would be beneficial, since tests such as the ARMT and SAT 10 will have been completed by then.

The Board will consider all the input it receives from schools when it makes its decision on the 2010-2011 calendar next Monday.

Pike Liberal Arts School will have its spring break from March 21-25 in conjunction with the Alabama Independent Schools Association.