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Board to hold hearing on proposed school calendar, earlier start to year

The Board of Education will conduct a public hearing Tuesday on a proposed 2014-15 school year calendar that includes a record early Aug. 13 start and could serve as part of a transition to year-round classes.
Most CMSD schools began this school year on Aug. 19. The proposed calendar would remain at 180 days but allow students to get more instruction before major skills tests, cleanly end the first semester at the start of winter break and begin summer break just before Memorial Day. 
Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon said the calendar also could set the stage for year-round school, which is encouraged by The Cleveland Plan, the District's state-approved blueprint for reform.  MC2STEM High School students already follow a year-round schedule, alternating 10 weeks of classes with three-week breaks.
The board also is considering requests from some schools to adjust their hours, an example of the autonomy buildings have been given in pursuing their educational goals.
Riverside and Patrick Henry elementary schools have asked to extend their hours Monday through Thursday and dismiss students early on Friday so teachers can plan, meet and participate in training. Other schools simply want to adjust starting and ending times.
The hearing will be part of a board meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mound-STEM PreK-8 School, 5935 Ackley Rd.
The board must vote on the calendar before May 1. To provide as much time for deliberation as possible, the board has rescheduled next month's business meeting from April 22 to April 29.