A Little Later Than Normal

As students finish up the semester FHSD prepares to have a later start than normal for the 2020-2021 school year.


Grace Bahru

Students finish and discuss art projects.

As students walk into school for the 2020-21 school year things will be a little different. By the start of the 2020-21 school year students will be entering classes no earlier than Aug. 24. This is due to a new state legistlation that was passed that intells all schools in the state of Missouri wont strart school 14 days before the first monday in the month of September. Because of this change, the Francis Howell School District had to make a brand new calendar for next school year. In order to make next year’s calendar efficient and conscious of both faculty members and students, the district decided to put both a mix of advisors and students onto the committee so all viewpoints could be heard. The committee consists of the chief of human resources for the district Mrs. Lisa Simpkins, Dr. Mark Delany, Dr. Suzanne Leake, Mrs. Angela Kozlowski, teachers from various schools in the district, many parents, and a student from both Howell Central, Howell North, and Howell High. Meetings consist of the administrators, student reps, and parents trying to figure out what is the best way to structure next year’s calendar. Throughout the meetings the committee makes their way down to one calendar and that calendar is presented to the school board by Chief Mrs.Simpkins where the school board takes the calendar and tries to modify it to fit well with the next school year.

Junior Sophie Delaney is FHC’s student rep and believes that the district is doing a good job of making sure that the students’ voices are being heard.

“I do feel like our voice is being met because I feel like the teachers and administrators really choose to listen to our opinions on finals and other things that affect us,” Delaney said. 

When making an entirely new calendar there are many things to consider and factor in that will affect both students and teachers. Mrs. Simpkins chief of human resources, said there were several things the committee considered while making the calendar.

“There were several factors. Things like the best day of the week to start school, including breaks like fall, winter, and spring. Keeping students safe on election day, the placement of finals, keeping the quarters and semesters equal in length, making up snow days, fitting in professional development days for teachers, the last day of school, and graduation,” cheif of HR Mrs. Simpkins said. 

There are currently no dates that are set for next year, but the district released their 2020-21 school year calendar draft to get input from both Francis Howell School District faculty members and Francis Howell District parents. On this draft students start school on August 24. There is still a seven day fall break period which will pass over the election day in November, making fall break much later in the year than students are used to. Meanwhile, teachers only get five days off on fall break.

Head principal of Bryan middle school Dr. Leake feels that the district did an amazing job of listening to the community’s responses and satisfying their wishes.

“I’m most excited that we were able to accommodate what was important to stakeholders and were representing all grade levels,” Dr. Leake said.

There will continue to be no school on election days to ensure student and faculty safety. Furthermore, the calendar proposes eight days of christmas break rather than the usual 10 day break. The first semester would end after Christmas break, and  finals will take place January 14-15. There will continue to be a spring break as, well and it will be the week long break that most students and staff are used to. Lastly, according to the draft calendar, school will be let out the day before Memorial Day. A majority of the changes were made in order for there to be an even number of quarters and to be best fitting for students and faculty. According to Chief HR Mrs. Simpkins the draft calendar is the final recommendation.

“ The committee has [made] a final recommendation [for next year’s calendar]. The calendar will be presented to the Board of Education in a workshop setting in November. They will vote on the calendar at the December meeting,” Mrs. Simpkins said.

In order to keep up with next year’s, calendar make sure to look on the Francis Howell School District website after the Board of Education’s final decision meeting.