School Calendar Revisited

School Calendar Revisited

Typically, school district officials try to set the following school year calendar early so families, staff members, and others can make plans based on when school will be in session. In Menomonie, the school district surveyed parents, students, staff, and community members last November to gauge preferences for the 2015-2016 school district calendar. While a majority of school district stakeholders preferred to continue having a spring break built into the schedule, several respondents commented about the importance of having the spring break align with the calendar at UW-Stout. Although a school district calendar for 2015-2016 was approved last fall, the school board is now considering a new calendar that would bring back spring break in March of 2016.

At the time that the 2015-2016 school calendar was first considered, there were significant concerns about the new state assessment mandates that were first being implemented in the spring of 2015. With a very limited window for the district to assess students, along with the threat of increased sanctions by the state for inadequate participation, the school board was provided options that included a shortened school year with no spring break, or a calendar with a spring break that was not aligned with the university. At that time, it seemed that the preference would be the adoption of the calendar with the shortened school year.

Now, having gone through the first year of the newly mandated state testing, the school district is less concerned about meeting the mandates set forth by state and federal laws. It also appears that the threat of potential sanctions is less than previously indicated. There was nearly 100% participation by Menomonie High School students on this year’s state assessment, and there is no reason to predict less participation in the future. 

Therefore, the school district has solicited input from those potentially impacted by a late change in the school calendar for next year. While support for including a spring break in the calendar is not unanimous, it still appears that it is the preference for the majority of students, parents, staff, and community members in Menomonie. It also appears that changing the school calendar now can be accomplished without causing an unacceptable amount of conflict.

There are many factors to consider when developing the school district calendar. Feedback from stakeholders has led to the elimination of early release days in 2015-2016 and the accomplishment of other scheduling efficiencies. If the school board approves a change at the next meeting scheduled for April 27, we will certainly do our best to share the new calendar with all stakeholders as soon as possible.

Should school stakeholders have any questions about the school calendar, or anything else in our school district, I invite you to visit the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue or contact me at 715-232-1642. More information about our schools can be found on the school district website ( and on Twitter (