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Aberdeen Christian School Tries Late Start Date

May 7, 2014, 5:40 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Aberdeen Christian School Tries Late Start Date
ABERDEEN, SD -

A private Aberdeen school which tried a later start date has received so much positive feedback, it plans to do it again.

Aberdeen Christian School started after Labor Day this year. It’s advertising the same schedule next year.

Looking outside a classroom window late into May is fine with Aberdeen Christian junior Sam Palmer, as long as it means staying out of the classroom until September.

"Before Labor Day it's still kind of hot out so you get a couple weeks of extra summer when it's hot out. When you get out earlier in May, it's still kind of cold so it's not as fun," Palmer said.

He's glad his school opted for a post-Labor Day start this year. He's not alone.

The school moved to a new location during the 2013-14 academic year. Administrators decided to push the start date past Labor Day, hoping the extra time would allow them to move into the new building before the school year started. That didn't happen, but what did happen was an overwhelming response to the new schedule.

"Everything was positive," administrator Amy Beaner said. "Our parents really liked it and so we followed suit."

That meant starting after Labor Day again. Beaner says the school hasn't fielded any complaints yet, but admits the schedule does have its downside.

The school had to cut back on vacation and staff development days during the year in order to finish before Memorial Day. The calendar doesn't have snow days built in either.

As for the testing issue that Sioux Falls administrators have cited for moving the school start date before Labor Day, Christmas break does interrupt the semester for Aberdeen Christian students. Beaner say she hasn't heard complaints about that and teachers review material before semester tests.

"So there is a little bit of a trade-off but we feel it's really been worth it," Beaner said.

Palmer made use of his extra days in August.

"Got to work on the farm a couple extra weeks, help dad out," Palmer said.

Now his dad will wait a couple weeks later into May to have that help back again.

The school has been promoting its late start date in advertisements. Beaner says she isn’t sure if that's attracting students but says new families visiting the school have voiced supported for the calendar decision.

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