UPDATE: The Washoe County School District voted to pass option B, which would start school the second week of August and end in the first week of June. 

Students would get one week for fall break, two weeks for winter break, two weeks for spring break and nine weeks for summer.

"We've had so much noise level if you will from families, especially the desire for a longer summer." Board of Trustees President Katy Simon Holland says.

The district put out a public survey with more than 17,000 responses, and while most people wanted longer summers, there were other common themes.

"We love having a fall break," Simon Holland says about what responders said with the survey. "We didn't like having a three week long winter break because it's just too long to keep kids out of school."

There was a brief discussion about option C, which is the same as option B but spring break is one week and summer break is ten. Simon Holland says 10 weeks is a bit too long for summer.

"There is a lot of research that shows there is learning loss after about eight weeks," Simon Holland says. "And that learning loss grows."

Option D received a lot of support in the survey and the public comment, but it was also the most negatively-received proposal. While there may have been conflicts with hundreds if not thousands of employees if the school year started in September, it also meant fall semester would continue past winter break.

"If the semester doesn't finish until the end of January," Simon Holland says. "They have to come back from Winter break, take their finals, and change classes and that was a huge priority for folks."

Another reason the board went with option B, it was the recommendation of Superintendent Traci Davis. Davis argues two weeks of Spring break is important for students who need to earn credits during break, and making it one week would take away that ability.

Simon Holland agrees with Davis on the importance of intersessions and a student's ability to catch up if they fall behind.

"We had kids who were finishing credit recovery the day of graduation," Simon Holland says after attending graduations this month. "And having the ability to walk out of here with a high school diploma versus not is a huge impact on those kids for their later income potential and everything that happens to them later."


Original Story: Washoe County School District is considering changing its calendar school year starting in Fall 2019.

WCSD Board of Trustees President Katy Simon Holland previously said that there's isn't a specific reason to reassess the calendar schedule, but they hear enough from parents about the schedule to take a look.

"The school calendar is one of the things that we get emails about all year-round," Simon Holland says.

Holland says one of the things they hear about most is making summer longer.

"Well that's a challenge when we have to balance that against the number of days we have to have them in school, the number of minutes we have to have them in school," Holland says.

Another hot topic, the fall break.

"We also hear that people really like the fall break," Holland says. "But for other families it's a hardship."

A survey asked people to rank priority of certain breaks like summer and fall, as well as side-effects to changes like testing. About 18,000 people took the survey. 

Holland says if changes happen, they have to consider more than schooling requirements.

"Also the desire high school students have to be able to get their finals before their winter break," Holland says.

While the district hears criticism of the current schedule often, two women we spoke with say they like it the way it is.

"I feel very strongly about keeping it the way it is," Monica Reynolds, whose son attends Damonte Ranch High School, says. "I think it's more productive and efficient for the kids."

"You still get so much break time but the kids aren't gone long enough to lose the routine of school," Pam Rodriguez, whose son attends Hunsberger Elementary School, says.

Holland says if they do make any changes, she expects them to be around a little while.

"It's very disruptive to change the school calendar," Holland says. "So we don't want to just arbitrarily change it year after year if we change it. It would stay for a while."

Of the nearly 18,000 people who took the survey, 62% were parents, 24% staff, 9% students and 5% community members. 

Concerning the current academic calendar, 27.2% of the people said they preferred having one week off in the fall, while 23.9% said they liked ending classes before the winter break.

Participants also said they'd most like to see school start the second week of August. That specific option includes a fall break, a two-week break in winter and one week off in spring. The current balanced calendar option, was rated the lowest along with another similar option, but with classes starting the first week of September, and had one week off in fall and spring, and two weeks off in winter. 

The District says with those responses, "it appears there is just slightly more agreement that the semester should end before the winter break as opposed to starting school later in August."

Board members are scheduled to discuss the results at Tuesday's meeting, starting at 2 p.m.