Polk County Schools will begin and end school two weeks earlier in the 2023-24 academic year.
At its regular monthly meeting on Monday at Stearns Education Center, the Polk County Board of Education unanimously approved a new calendar for the 2023-24 year that will see students return to class in mid-August and enjoy a full two-week break at Christmas.
The revised calendar will also allow Polk County High School students to complete the first semester of classes before the holiday vacation. That is expected to have a positive academic impact, most notably on end-of-class testing. The new schedule will also better align Polk County Schools with the academic calendar of area colleges for those students wishing to take part in dual enrollment and will aid any high school student who wishes to graduate early and begin college in the spring.
Students will begin the 2023-24 academic year on August 14, with the usual schedule of holidays and workdays until December 15, which will be the last day of classes before Christmas. That will also mark the end of the first semester at PCHS.
Students will return to class on January 2, with spring break set for April 15-19 and the last day of classes for students set for May 24.
“At the end of the day this came down to the Polk County Schools’ motto of doing what’s right for students,” said Board of Education Chairman Mike Ashworth. “Academically, it makes sense as it allows us to complete our first semester before the December break, so our students are not having to return from break to finish their exams. Also, from an academic standpoint, it allows us to be in sync with local colleges for our students who are dually enrolled.
“From an athletic perspective, we believe it will be good to have student-athletes in school earlier as well as we have already fielded teams and are playing games by the time we begin school. It will also align us with other local school calendars around us in Henderson and Rutherford Counties, both of which have teams we compete against at the middle school and high school levels.
“Finally, our local families have also been asking for this for a long time now, so we feel this also makes sense from the perspective of our community as well.”