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Board Approves New 2015-16 Calendar, Aug. 24 Start Date

The first day of school for the 2015-16 school year will be Monday, Aug. 24, based on a new school calendar approved by the School Board tonight (April 13, 2015).

New! Full 2015-16 Calendar (Board-Approved)

Calendar Highlights

  • First Day of School for Students: Aug. 24
  • First Day of Tiger Cubs Preschool: Aug. 31
  • Winter Break: Dec. 23-Jan. 3
  • End of First Semester: Jan. 13
  • Spring Break: March 14-18
  • Last Day of Tiger Cubs Preschool: May 27
  • Last Student Day: June 1 (pending snow days)
  • Professional Development/Flex Days – No School For Students: Sept. 21, Nov. 25, Jan. 18, Feb. 26, March 11, April 29

The 2015-16 school year calendar is based on instructional hours. It meets the requirements of a new state law that says Iowa schools can not start the academic year earlier than Aug. 23. 

The district will soon begin work to develop a proposed calendar for the 2016-17 school year.

Background

The School Board originally approved a calendar for the 2015-16 school year in May 2014 with a start date of Aug. 12 and the first semester ending before winter break. This calendar was developed through the work of a district calendar committee, which included parents and teachers representing each school attendance center in the district. The committee considered several factors, including input from student, parent, and staff surveys. The original calendar required the state to grant the district’s request to waive a state law requiring schools to start classes during the week of Sept. 1. In the past, the state routinely approved waivers.

In December 2014, the Iowa Department of Education (DE) notified Iowa school districts that it would no longer routinely grant waivers, and a new process was implemented. The WDMCS submitted a waiver under the new requirements. In addition, the district developed two additional proposed calendars, one with a start date of August 31 and another with a start date of August 24, which was approved by the School Board as noted above. Public hearings were held on both of these alternate calendars.

With the start of the 2015 state legislative session, several bills were proposed that addressed school start dates. Eventually, Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill stating schools could start no sooner than Aug. 23 and only allowing some school districts with year-round calendars to be exempt from the new rules. The bill excludes high schools from seeking such exemptions.