Most CMSD schools will start the 2014-15 school year on Wednesday, Aug. 13 under a calendar that the Board of Education approved Tuesday.
The calendar moves up the opening of classes from last year's Aug. 19, though the difference is only three school days.
The new calendar provides more instruction time before students take October assessments but also creates what Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon calls a "more natural flow" to the school year. For example, the second quarter will begin Tuesday, Oct. 14, the day after students are off for Columbus Day, and the first semester will end the day before schools go on winter break instead of spilling over into the new year.
For some schools, the calendar could represent a step toward year-round classes. The Cleveland Plan, a customized, state-approved blueprint for reform, calls for CMSD to offer year-round options.
MC2STEM High School and three new high schools -- E3agle Academy, PACT (Problem-based Academy of Critical Thinking) and Cleveland High School for the Digital Arts -- already run all year. The schools will begin year-round calendars July 28. The schools will alternate 10 weeks of classes with three-week breaks.
The District calendar contains a number of changes designed to increase and enrich parent engagement, another goal of The Cleveland Plan.
Open houses will be held in September during the same week that first-quarter interim progress reports are distributed, instead of later. Parent-teacher conferences will be conducted from 12:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 21 instead of earlier in the day, as in the past. When second-quarter interim reports are released the week of Nov. 17, schools will schedule two additional hours to discuss the reports with families.
Gordon said the District would not move forward with a number of changes in school starting and ending times, including those at two elementary schools that proposed extending days Monday through Thursday and dismissing early Friday for teacher meetings, planning time and training. He said high school dismissal times could still be staggered to help security forces maintain a stronger presence at schools.