Many students at Jeff Davis Elementary returned to school Thursday to brand new classrooms. Construction of the new classrooms in several Biloxi schools postponed the start of the school year. Future building projects will delay the start date for the next two years.
Superintendent Dr. Larry Drawdy says next year, they'll be moving into the new Biloxi High School, and that would be a significant reorganization for the entire school. The following year, they'll be moving into two brand new elementary schools, Gorenflo and Nichols, and that will also impact them too.
Another reason to push back the school year, is to accommodate military families. Dr. Drawdy says many military families move into the Biloxi area in August. He says the families need time to adjust to the community and get ready for school.
Dr. Drawdy says he wants to keep the late start late for many more years. Many students and teachers like the idea. Sixth Grade Teacher Lisa Guice says she often attends teacher workshops during the summer, and then has to go straight into the school year. By starting school later, she doesn't feel so rushed. It gives her a break after the workshops to prepare for the new year.
High School Senior Apryle Williams says it gives her more time to spend with her friends, for summer jobs and for traveling. 6th Grader Will Lammons says he likes going back to school later, because he's never ready for the summer to end.
For now, students and teachers in Biloxi will continue to head back to class in late August. Whether that's permanent, is up to the school board to decide.
Dr. Drawdy says 10 years ago, most districts didn't start school until after Labor Day. But, many districts decided to start school earlier, so they could prepare students for statewide testing in the Fall. Even when the testing moved to Spring, most districts chose to keep the early start date.