When it comes to the yearly calendar for Williamson County Schools, there is always a disclaimer.
“There is no perfect calendar,” WCS Superintendent Jason Golden said as he encouraged members of the Board of Education to vote to approve the proposed calendar for the 2020-21 academic year. “In the discussions that we’ve had, there is inevitably someone that disagrees with something on the calendar.”
A similar disclaimer was also expressed earlier at Monday night’s school board meeting at the Williamson County Administrative Complex, as board members eventually voted 9-2 to approve the calendar.
“It’s not possible to please all teachers or the community with any decisions that we make,” said Kerry Vaughn, past president of the Williamson County Education Association and a teacher at Spring Station Middle School. “I, too, read the surveys and all the choices, and there are many. But we try to do our best to come up with the best academic calendar.”
The calendar for next year is similar to the one being followed this year, and in recent years as well. Students report for a half-day on Aug. 7 to get the 2020-21 school year started, and have Thursday and Friday, Oct. 8-9, and Monday, Oct. 12, as fall break.
Schools are out the whole week of Thanksgiving, and winter break runs from Dec. 21-Jan. 5. Spring break is March 15-19, and the last day of school is May 21.
The two board members who voted against the proposed calendar — Sheila Cleveland of District 7 and Jay Galbreath of District 6 — primarily had issues with the consistently short fall break for WCS. Most other districts in the area have full-week fall breaks.
“I’ve always been an advocate for the full week of fall break and a full week at Thanksgiving,” Cleveland said. “And as a school board member, I always seriously consider the staff recommendation when deciding to vote because of their daily involvement in the school system and their expertise, and the educational impact those decisions may have on the students. I have great respect for the educational staff and the committee that put this calendar together.”
“However… as a representative of District 7, I have a responsibility to listen to the parents and teachers within my district. Over the past years I have consistently heard overwhelming opinions that there be a week off at fall break and at Thanksgiving. This is more than just a vacation that they’re asking for. The purpose is to give students a mental health break from the social and academic pressures after each of the grading periods.”
The school board’s next regular meeting is Monday, Nov. 18. The district will hold two community meetings in the coming weeks to address zoning for the new Creekside Elementary School on Gosey Hill Road. The first will be Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 6:15 p.m. at Oak View Elementary School, and the second at Thompson’s Station Middle School on Thursday, Nov. 7.