Following a months-long process involving public input to formulate Glen Rose ISD’s school calendar for the 2008-09 school year, trustees approved administrators’ recommendations setting next year’s start-date and holidays for both faculty and students.

According to Tommy Gibson, GRISD’s director of administration and support services, it is each school district’s responsibility to devise a school calendar each year. In order to formulate a calendar that would please the majority of the district’s faculty and staff, as well as conform to state guidelines, GRISD formed a committee to come up with several proposals.

The committee consisting of representatives from each campus and members in the community, who developed two options for the school board to review last week. An online survey was also conducted in February to gather feedback from parents, GRISD faculty and others in the community, said Gibson.

“The committee elected to conduct a poll of both calendar options. Voting could be done on the Glen Rose ISD Web site or by hard copy that was made available at each campus office and the administration building,” said Gibson. “Letters were also sent home with all students notifying parents of the voting options.”

After considering requirements set by the Texas Education Agency, review of the Texas Education Code and the survey results, the committee recommended trustees approve calendar Option 1, which received unanimous approval by the board last week.

“The calendar committee gathered valuable information from parents, staff members and the community,” said Gibson. “This information was used to formulate the calendar options. Calendar Option 1 was selected by a majority vote.”

Among the important dates in next year’s school calendar is the first day of school, set for Monday, Aug. 25. The last day of the school year will be Thursday, June 4 with Glen Rose High School graduation ceremonies scheduled for Friday, June 5, 2009.

When devising the calendar, the district’s committee had to consider several required parameters. In accordance with the state’s education code, teachers must work 187 days and students must have 177-180 days of instruction. The committee also had to consider statewide TAKS testing dates and a start-date no earlier than Aug. 25.

Holidays that must be observed include Labor Day, Christmas, Good Friday and Memorial Day, as well as a five-day Spring Break.

Teacher work days must also be included in each district’s calendar, at the beginning and end of each school year. Two bad weather days are also required by the state.

Committee members were also charged with formulating a calendar that included a balance of instructional days between the first and second semesters, with a requirement the first semester ends in January.

After taking the state’s requirements into consideration, Gibson said the calendar proposals were put before the community for their input.

Fifty-six percent of the district’s faculty and staff preferred Option 1, while 69 percent of parents and community members said they liked Option 1.

Next year’s school calendar, which is now available for viewing on the GRISD Web site, includes a total of 177 school days for students and 10 days for staff development and preparation.

Holidays included in the calendar for the 2008-09 school year are: Labor Day, Sept. 1; Columbus Day, Oct. 13; Thanksgiving, Nov. 26-28; Winter (Christmas) Break, Dec. 22 through Jan. 2; President’s Day, Feb. 16; Spring Break, March 16-20, Easter Break, April 10-13 (includes Bad Weather day); additional Bad Weather day, May 15; and Memorial Day, May 25.