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District eyes earlier start, could be step toward year-round school

The District will consider moving up the start of the 2014-15 school year to Aug. 13, a shift that would pack in more instruction before students take major tests while also setting the stage for eventually offering year-round classes to more children.
The current school year began Aug. 19. though some specialty schools opened just before or after that date and MC2STEM High School is operating all year.
Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon said starting in the first half of August would continue to distance the start of school  from Labor Day and cleanly end the first semester at the winter break. The school year, which would remain at 180 days, would end for students on May 22, the Friday before Memorial Day.
Gordon said the Aug. 13 start also could help the District make the transition to keeping more schools open year-round.  The Cleveland Plan, CMSD's state-approved blueprint for reform, promotes options that would have children attend school all year with periodic breaks.
Some schools also have proposed different hours, exercising their latitude under The Cleveland Plan to make better use of time for student education and staff development.
For example, Patrick Henry and Riverside elementary schools would operate longer days Monday through Thursday and dismiss students early on Friday to leave time for teacher meetings, planning and training. Patrick Henry would conduct classes from 7:40 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:40 to 11:40 a.m. Friday; Riverside students would go to school from 8:15 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Most high schools now follow the same schedule. Some are asking to stagger their hours, a move that would allow security to maintain a stronger presence at more locations.
The Board of Education, which approves the school calendar and hours, will vote on the matter in late April. Gordon said that will provide more time for public comment on the significant changes.