It you are a student in Booneville you can see the end of summer vacation. If you are a Magazine student the spotlight is on you already.
Orientation for Magazine School District students is tomorrow. A hot dog meal will be served at 5 p.m. at Diamondback Arena, followed by short welcomes by administrators with students collecting their schedules and or meeting new teachers for the 2018-2019 school year, which starts on Monday.
The modified schedule — hybrid is the name Magazine Superintendent Brett Bunch gave it — has students coming back in late July, getting a break in October, another week for Thanksgiving, three for Christmas and two for spring break, moving the end of the school year into June.
While there was a nine-week summer for Magazine students this year, that will leave seven next year — the school district has essentially committed to three years of the schedule to gauge its effectiveness.
Bunch said last week he’s heard countless times the school district is under the proverbial microscope.
“Everybody says they’re watching us,” he said. “There’s really nothing to watch for the first year, we’ll just start a couple weeks before everybody else in the state and finish a couple weeks after them.”
At that point those superintendents and other school officials interested in the success of the schedule shift are looking to see data relating to attendance, discipline and, primarily, academic success.
The goal, after all, is to manage, or at least trim the so-called summer slide educators find occurs between school years. Bunch said last week that can be up to 40 percent leaving teachers having “to spend four to 12 weeks to catch (students) back up.”
In the first year Bunch said he would be happy with a three to seven percent increase in testing data. The second year?
“I can see eight to 12 percent increases,” he said.
Those numbers, he feels, will have other superintendents taking a strong look into the idea.
“I’ve always said why follow when you can lead the way,” Bunch said.
The school will be open during the non-required attendance days, or intercession periods as Bunch calls them. The Boys & Girls Club of South Logan County, who will be at Thursday’s open house, will be operating a satellite campus and students who are falling behind will be permitted, not required, to have extra instruction.
Students will also be able to go to the school’s cafeteria for breakfast and lunch, just as if they were in school, because the district has been permitted to use some of its available summer feeding program days for those weeks.
Regardless the success, Bunch said, the holdup will doubtless continue to be athletics. That wasn’t a problem in Magazine.
“My coaches are all for it,” Bunch said.
That is despite the October break coming during the conference season for football, the extra week at Christmas coming during the conference season in basketball and the second spring break week landing in district play as well.
The move actually helps the football staff because practices, once school starts, will occur at the end of the school day which is expected to help attendance.
While Rattler coaches will not be permitted to administer punitive measure to those who don’t attend, coaches can continue to schedule practices and games.
“We’re up here all summer, so it’s not like it’s anything new,” said Bunch. “They already play basketball over the Christmas break. But, like I said, if a kid’s family wants to go on vacation and take advantage of off peak travel rates, they cannot be punished.”