Avoyelles Charter adopts 'modified' school year calendar

175-day 'year-round' schedule begins July 29 and ends May 21

When the Avoyelles Public Charter School in Mansura decided to stay with a 5-day school week and sever its transportation needs from the Avoyelles Parish School System, it also took some “new creative freedom in the design for the 2019-2020 school year calendar.”

APCS will shorten the summer break by a month and give longer breaks throughout the year.

APCS will open the 2019-20 school year on July 29. It will end on May 21. Students will have all of June and almost all of July off for summer vacation.

In between the first day and the last day of school, students will have breaks around the end of the 9-week grading periods -- from Sept. 30-Oct. 11, Dec. 16-Jan. 1, March 13-20 and April 9-13.

The school will also have one day off for Veterans Day, three days off for Thanksgiving, one day off for Martin Luther King Day and two days off for Mardi Gras.

In contrast, the public school system’s school year begins Aug. 13 and ends May 20. Students will have all but one Monday off during the year, a week off at Thanksgiving, two weeks off at Christmas, Mardi Gras day off and five school days off for Easter.

APCS will have 175 student instruction days -- 88 in the first semester and 87 in the second.

The 10 public schools will have 144 instruction days, 72 in each semester.

The 4-day school calendar starts only two weeks later than the “year-round” calendar, which ends only one day after the APSD school year.

BUSES WERE KEY

The development of the alternative calendars was set in motion when the Avoyelles School Board adopted a 4-day week. The issue of buses for the charter and parochial students became a key factor in the debate.

Comments by board members during the brief “review period” between raising the issue and adopting the change were along the lines of “if we go to a 4-day school week, everyone else will have to do so too because they use our buses.”

Within a few days of the public school schedule change, the parochial schools announced they would stay with the 5-day school week. The parochial schools noted less than 100 of their students ride public school buses.

APCS sent a survey home to parents to get their input. That led the charter school to retain the 5-day school week and end its reliance on APSD shuttle buses to transport about 400 children to and from the school.

LETTER TO PARENTS

In a recent letter to parents, APCS Director Julie Roy noted the “overwhelming support” of parents “for your willingness to get your children to school, to shuttle sites and to really do whatever it takes to make sure the students receive the education that is offered at APCS.”

Roy noted in the letter that with the “transportation issue addressed, new creative freedom in the design of the 2019-20 school year calendar was allowed.

She said the calendar is “designed to allow optimum academic time with students as well as quality time with families.”

In closing the letter, Roy said the school officials, faculty and staff “look forward, with anticipation, to the future! We commit to continue to provide a rigorous and relevant academic choice for families in Avoyelles Parish.”

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