More Mississippi school districts shifting to modified school calendars

Published: Jul. 18, 2023 at 8:56 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Nine school districts across the state will return to the classroom this week.

It may seem early, but it’s becoming more common around the state for districts to spread out their school year. They’re doing that with modified or flexible calendars.

Clinton teachers are back and preparing for students to arrive in less than a week as they begin their first year with a modified calendar.

“Well, my personal reaction was wondering what I was going to do with my shortened summer. I just had a baby,” noted Hannah Rachel Smith, a Clinton High School English teacher. “And so I was thinking, not enough time to do all of the things to get ready for a new school year. But, ultimately, in favor of it because of the extended breaks throughout the school year.”

“I was excited, honestly. Just because of how I had the schedule set up,” said Clinton Park Elementary Assistant Principal Ivory Gray.

You may have heard modified calendars referred to as year-round school. But let’s clear some things up.

Students still go to school for 180 days each year. But that’s spread across a longer time frame, meaning they start a little earlier and end later. They have more breaks through the school year, typically at the end of each nine weeks.

That allows for a few learning options in the intercessions.

“It is our plan to address those that are in need,” explained Gray. “Maybe those needing an intervention or remediation, but also for those students that we can give a little bit more opportunities in terms of those who normally do well, maybe some STEM activities, or even extracurricular, like maybe having a camp.”

We checked with the Mississippi Department of Education to see if they have a tally of the districts choosing the modified calendar. What they sent was those starting in July. Here’s who started early last school year, a total of 12.



Forrest County

Forrest County Ag High School Gulfport

Lamar County

Marion County


Pass Christian Public


Simpson County

Starkville- Oktibbeha Consolidated

But it’s more than doubled this year. There are 29 starting in July - 30 if you include Natchez-Adams starting August 1st.


Ambition Preparatory

Biloxi Public

Clinton Public


Columbus Municipal


*Forrest County

*Forrest County Ag High School


Hancock County

Jackson County

Jefferson Davis County

*Lamar County


Lawrence County

Long Beach

Lowndes County

*Marion County

Moss Point Separate

*Natchez-Adams (Start August 1)

Pascagoula Gautier

*Pass Christian Public

Perry County


Senatobia Municipal

*Simpson County

*Starkville- Oktibbeha Consolidated

Tate County

West Point Consolidated

Those from last year are highlighted. Clinton’s expecting benefits for both students and teachers.

“We’re looking forward to maybe less teacher burnout,” added Smith. “When we get to September and October, kind of that reset. After each quarter, really, we get to reset and start over, and hopefully continue that momentum throughout the school year instead of more hills and valleys.”

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