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Hillsborough: Push exam after winter break?



TAMPA - Exams before winter break are hugely popular, but a committee of parents, teachers and administrators is recommending that in 2009-10, Hillsborough schools move first semester exams back until after the holidays.

The alternative would be to shortchange learning time for students, an advisory committee on the student calendar decided today. To squeeze exams in, winter break would have to start Dec. 24. The semesters also would be completely unbalanced, with 82 days in the first and 100 in the second.

Still, the committee acknowledged overwhelming support for holding exams before winter break. In a survey last year, more than 80 percent of parents wanted to end the first semester before the holidays.

"I know there have been issues with students wanting to take exams," said Leigh Crosson, a teacher at Bevis Elementary. "But they won't want to if they're not prepared."

The committee blamed the problem on a new state law that requires school districts to start classes no earlier than two weeks before Labor Day. In 2009-10, the earliest students can return is Aug. 24, four days later than this year's start date.

The group is recommending that next school year's calendar be modeled after the current one, which does not recognize religious holidays. The proposal to push back the first semester exams is on a tentative calendar for 2009-10. Superintendent MaryEllen Elia will consider the committee's suggestion in making her recommendation to the School Board, which has the final say on the student calendars.

- Times staff writer Letitia Stein

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:26am]


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