Gulfport School District approves flexible schedule for the 2021-2022 school year

The new flexible schedule is the first of its kind in South Mississippi.
Updated: Oct. 5, 2020 at 9:44 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The Gulfport School District is ditching the traditional school year model in favor of a more trendy calendar.

The school board approved the new measure, which would begin after the current school year concludes on May 25, 2021. Students would get a seven-week summer break and the new school year would begin on July 23, 2021.

That year would run through June 7, 2022, and be broken up into four 45-day terms with two-week breaks in between. Students would also get a three-week break for Christmas. 

The new year under the new format begins July 23, 2021.  That year concludes June 7, 2022.  The start of the 2022-23 school year would be up to the calendar committee.

The new flexible schedule is the first of its kind in South Mississippi.

“If it’s something that we think is going to be best for the children, we don’t mind being the first to offer it or the first to attempt it,” said Gulfport School Board Vice President Bridget Weatherly.

The goal of the new schedule is to help prevent education loss, which tends to happen during summer vacation.

“We’ve gone to a schedule that expands out our school year, still 180 days of instruction, but allows more time for makeup work, catchup work," said Superintendent Glen East.

The breaks allow students and teachers to focus on lessons that need improvement and to also allow for more extracurricular time.

“The school buildings themselves will not close," East said.

Aside from some summer camps, Gulfport sports will also continue on with little to no impacts due to the new calendar year, and families will have a chance to schedule vacations during different times of the year, not just during the summer months.

“Most of the people that I talked to are very excited about it and I think the teachers are as well," Weatherly said.

The schedule has been in the works since 2018 by the board’s Calendar Committee Action Team. The board decided to approve the schedule in October instead of February, when such items are considered, in order to give more time for students, parents and teachers to adjust to the changes.

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