Eden Prairie students will begin the 2021-22 school year Sept. 8, avoiding a conflict with the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah, based on changes made to a draft school calendar at the Jan. 25 school board meeting.
The initial draft had the first day of school on Sept. 7, which coincided with the holiday. The board approved that tentative calendar in February 2020. It will vote on the final version at its Feb. 22, 2021 meeting.
Board members who voted to approve the tentative calendar a year ago acknowledged their mistake in not recognizing the scheduling conflict. So did Superintendent Josh Swanson.
“Honestly, we missed it,” Swanson said.
As a result, the district intends to change its calendar design process to include other participants in an attempt to avoid making a similar mistake, he said.
A group known as “meet and confer,” which included a teacher representative from every building and an additional six administrators, drew up the original draft, according to Tom May, executive director of human resources.
Associate Superintendent of Academics and Innovation Dr. Stacie Stanley expressed regret at the frustration and anxiety the calendar caused members of the community.
“We value the diversity within our community and we want to partner with (them), including faith-based leaders and experts on collaborative work to design a process to examine future calendars,” she said.
“Ultimately, our goal is to be inclusive to support students and families on important attendance dates, such as the first day of school and the last day of school, graduation and semester start dates,” she said.
The district has reached out to a community expert to help create a process to include more people in the calendar design, Stanley said. That group should begin meeting in the next few months, she said.
The final draft of the 2021-22 calendar consists of 172 student contact days and 185 teacher contract days, May said.
Winter break is Dec. 23-31, 2021 and spring break is March 21-25, 2022. June 9 is the last day of classes for all students.
The school board is scheduled to approve a preliminary calendar for the 2022-23 school year at its Feb. 22 meeting. See the preliminary 2021-22 calendar here.