Why are students and school administrators against the late start? ACTIVITIES, ACTIVITIES, ACTIVITIES!

My phone was ringing off the hook today about the Roosevelt students speaking at the SF school district informational meeting Wednesday night about the after Labor Day start.

I will agree with administrators that I think it is wonderful that students came and spoke up Wednesday night. But let’s be realistic folks, most of them are not eligible to vote, they are not parents and business owners AND they don’t don’t pay property taxes. So while we appreciate their opinions, they really don’t get to make the final decision.

So now with the phone calls . . .

The first (and second) was about a person attending the meeting last night, and they overheard a student say that it was announced over the morning messages at Roosevelt HS to come and speak at the meeting and they would get ‘credit’.

I later passed this information on to my favorite gardener, former substitute teacher, pianist and foot soldier, Theresa Stehly. According to the principal of Roosevelt that Theresa interviewed on the phone today, credit was NOT offered, but students were encouraged to attend, and also commended Thursday morning during morning announcements over the HS’s P.A.

Theresa was told by the principal they would welcome a presentation by the Save our Summer group to the student body. I hope the SOS group takes advantage of this opportunity, and I hope the MSM gives equal time and credit to both sides of the issue. It’s an opportunity for great dialogue in our community. Lets face it, both sides have solid arguments.

And here’s the kicker . . .

Roosevelt High School principal and student council advisor both reiterated to Theresa that it would put a hardship on athletic activities. Their fear is that the SD activities association would probably not be flexible in scheduling activities if Sioux Falls changed their school start date to after Labor Day.

Theresa told them that she felt that other communities would follow suit, and the activities association would work to support these changes once they felt the groundswell from the SF policy changes.

While many reasons have been thrown at us about AP testing and Christmas break, it seems the real gorilla in the room is about starting early practices for sports.

There is also a question of state law and the legality of the students being encouraged by administrators to testify against a late start date, this is advocational in nature and kind of sits in a grey area when it comes to elections.

The school district must be very careful to not spend any tax dollars or energy on influencing this election.

I encourage ALL students to come and talk about the issue, but at the end of the day, it’s the parents, tax payers and eligible voters who will make the final decision, not HS football players or cheerleaders.

Finally, I pay for your education, and I don’t take that duty lightly, and fully support it, but I expect the highest level of transparency. This is the first thing we must teach our young minds.


#1 Parent on 03.06.15 at 9:00 am

Last year, the state track meet was the weekend after Memorial Day and school ended mid-May. Spring activities such as track, baseball, girls golf and boys tennis have extended beyond the school year for years, and nobody has a problem with it. Because fall activities will start before school starts is not a reason to not move the start date.

#2 just me on 03.06.15 at 9:21 am

Don’t you understand that it’s sports, not academics, that rule these days!

#3 scott on 03.06.15 at 2:11 pm

marching band starts in the middle of july. i’m sure these soccer moms will be petitioning for an earlier start when their kids get out of elementary school and into high school. it’s also nice of the organizers to say to the kids, “your smart, you can handle it”.

#4 Parent on 03.06.15 at 4:45 pm

This is what a SF high school teacher posted: Just to clarify a bit of information for those of you that live in the Sioux Falls school district regarding the school start date. Our students taking AP classes currently have more in class time than most other students nationally. This is due to our lack of days off in the second semester. Nationally, most students get out of school at end of May or early June even though they start in august (lots of days off.). Our students won’t be at a disadvantage in prep time, it will be about equal to most other students. I don’t have strong feelings either way but thought the ap prep argument was misrepresented. I wish people would get this fired up about more important educational issues!

#5 Joan on 03.06.15 at 5:23 pm

Back in the 80s-90s when I lived in another SD city, school started sometime in August, when I would drive by the school in early August the football team would be out practicing in the early morning before the school year had started.

#6 Jackilope on 03.07.15 at 8:53 am

My 2 cents — I hated when we started earlier, initially. I prefer an earlier start with breaks during the school calendar year. Kids need breaks. They get cagey and need a break like anyone else. They don’the need looooonnnnnnng extended breaks, but a day off in Oct. (which got cut with the last compromise of starting a week later, but still ending semester before Dec. break) does provide a small respite.

It would be interesting to compare discipline and office referrals from a tight and compact school calendar vs one with an early start and early dismissal (month wise) to see impact of how a calendar does affect kids. My money would be an earlier start with intermittent days off for holidays for the kids as opposed to a longer summer would be better for the students, academically and emotionally.

#7 Dan Daily on 03.07.15 at 9:31 am

Seems like good arguments either start date. Let the voters decide. Kids will learn the process by lobbying their parents. End result will be voter consciousness and turnout. Perhaps this tone will translate into future elections and local awareness.

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