Updated: January 21, 2014 11:20AM
The Oswego District 308 School Board has approved new school calendars for the next two years that feature final exams remaining in December prior to winter break.
Also, for next school year, classes will begin on Aug. 18 and end on May 21. The year after that, school will begin on Aug. 17 and end on May 19.
Over two meetings, start dates and other key annual events for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school year calendars were discussed by the board. At the last meeting, Superintendent Matthew Wendt provided suggested calendars and information including surrounding school district calendar comparisons, suggested start and end dates and appreciation for school district’s current calendar.
“Last year there was a significant amount of overhaul and reform to the school calendar,” he said. “We moved away from irregular teacher institute days and final examinations being held in January. I want to give credit where credit is due. We are in the 2013-14 calendar year because of major changes that were approved through much work with our teachers’ association and eventual approval by the board.
“I appreciate the members of the Oswego Education Association that met with us to put forth what is best for student achievement,” Wendt said. “We discussed some issues we were unable to adjust, but I believe we are headed in the right direction.”
Wendt also reflected on arranging the calendar so the semester would end prior to winter break to allow students to take final exams in December as well as the elementary versus high school perspective in respect to an academic calendar.
“We simply cannot accommodate all of the varying opinions, but I do believe the school calendar favors the work we have before us,” he said.
Both calendars included 175 student-attendance days, which meets the state requirement.
The district also recently announced that graduation ceremonies for Oswego and Oswego East High School will each be held at Northern Illinois University’s Convocation Center in DeKalb this year on May 17. A live video stream of both ceremonies will also be on the district’s website at oswego308.org.
Mike Wayne, Oswego High School principal, said having the ceremony at NIU allows more students to enjoy the event with loved ones. He also noted that last year, the first time the ceremony was held at NIU, students got up to 10 tickets for family members to attend the ceremony. Prior to last year, the event was held in the Oswego High gym, limiting students to only four or five tickets per family.
“It is great for families to be able to accommodate more people coming to the ceremony at such a wonderful facility,” he said. “It provides a great venue for the seniors to graduate from.”