School Calendar

School Calendar
Posted on 11/12/2014

Last April, a bill was signed in Madison to eliminate the state law mandating that students attend at least 180 days of school each year. School districts are still required to meet the same specified number of hours of student instruction, but the instruction no longer needs to occur over 180 student contact days. With this change, the Menomonie Area School District is evaluating whether or not improvements could make our school calendar better for students, parents, staff, and taxpayers. 

In addition to scheduling days of student instruction, school districts also need to plan for professional development, parent-teacher conferences, and holiday breaks. Professional development is needed to keep staff trained in new teaching strategies and to help ensure the use of best practices in curriculum and instruction in our school district. Parent-teacher conferences are obviously important for reporting on individual student performance and discussing how parents and teachers can work together to maximize student success. And breaks in the school calendar are needed to observe holidays and provide time for family traditions, rest, and relaxation.

In Menomonie, we are planning to eliminate the early release days that were previously used for staff professional development and replace some of those days with whole-day professional development opportunities scheduled on dates that might be more convenient for families. This change would result in two fewer student contact days, but it would actually add a few hours of student instruction and provide more opportunities for professional development for our staff. 

Adopting a new calendar could also allow the school district to reduce some operating expenses and increase efficiency in our school district. We would like to maximize the value of the days that we all pay for transporting our students and serving them meals. District staff members are also evaluating the value and effectiveness of regular late starts that are used at some of our sites for teacher collaboration and data analysis, but that is a different discussion separate from the district calendar.

During an initial review of calendar proposals for the 2015-2016 school year, the school board wanted to discuss additional possibilities that could include reducing the week-long spring break and allowing students to get out of school earlier for the summer. So, there are two calendar options that the district is currently investigating. The first option is similar to this year's calendar, with the change to the early dismissals. The second calendar proposal shortens the spring break in 2016, but gets students out of school before June 1st.

In order to gather feedback related to these options, we are asking families, staff, and community members to please take a few minutes to review the proposals and take a brief survey. The survey and calendar proposals can be found on the school district website or by going directly to this URL: There are many factors that the school board will consider before making a final decision, but the preferences of school district stakeholders is certainly an important piece to this puzzle.

Should school stakeholders have any questions about the school district calendar, or if you do not have access to review the proposals through the Internet, 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 (