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March 04, 2015 09:55 PM

Students Speak Up About School Start Date

Sioux Falls, SD

Sioux Falls students will know in April whether they will be starting school after Labor Day, but until that vote, they want their voices heard.

"On the surface, moving the calendar date later seems like a great idea for families because who doesn't love a long summer and a warmer summer, because I know I do, but this presents a unique set of challenges for high school students that parents of middle school and elementary school students might not be exposed to," Roosevelt High School junior Kyle Siemers said.

Whether they have a vested interest in an extra-curricular activity or just want their breaks in the year to stay the same, students speaking up want to see the calendar stay as it is.

"There was a day where we did start after Labor Day back in the early 1990's. I was teaching, and the children are right, this is a better academic schedule for them," teacher Mary Coyne said.

Students in advanced placement courses are pushing hard to see that nothing changes because of the three weeks of prep time they're set to lose.

"With 47 out of the 50 states having an August start date, the test dates will remain in May and the college board won't care that South Dakota is missing out on three weeks of preparation that 46 other states have," Lincoln High School junior Kelsey Sprout said.

Some of the parents who are pushing for a new start date say they have enough faith in the students that they can make the adjustment.

"We have spectacular kids in this city, we have very bright kids in this city. I'm not worried about these AP kids at all. They're going to get it," Rhonda Lockwood said.

Even though the vote isn't for a number of weeks, students are happy for an opportunity to share their thoughts.

"I didn't know which way I wanted to vote on the calendar issue. I sort of stayed out of that arena, but hearing high school students say ' Please don't do this' has swayed me," Deana Barth said.

Some of the parents in favor of changing the start date after Labor Day also discussed the economical impact for local businesses and how spending more time with their kids offers more value than the extra time in the classroom.

  • Education
  • High School
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