By John R. Schirmer
After months of discussion, the Nashville School Board Monday night approved a major change in the district’s calendar for the 2024-25 academic year.
Board members voted 3-2 to adopt a hybrid calendar, which begins classes in late July, provides numerous breaks throughout the year, and ends in early June 2025.
Superintendent Doug Graham recommended that the district change to the hybrid calendar.
Board members Jerry Wilson, David Hilliard and Nick Britt voted in favor of the hybrid. Board president Tem Gunter and member Jamar Finley voted against.
About 100 people crowded into the board meeting room for Monday night’s session.
Before the vote, Gunter thanked “everyone who reached out and expressed an opinion. I appreciate your input. This is a huge endeavor.”
Gunter said changing from a traditional to a hybrid calendar was a “four-stage process. The Personnel Policies Committee and Mr. Graham developed the calendar. The school board reviewed it and made some edits. The next step was presenting it to the staff,” which saw 90 percent supporting the switch and 10 percent opposing it.
Finally, “The public had the opportunity to weigh in with a poll to gauge feedback from the community,” Gunter said.
The stakeholder survey received 1,211 responses, with 676 (56 percent) in favor of the hybrid option and 535 (44 percent) preferring the traditional option.
“Community support is paramount in making a culture change successful,” Gunter said. “I don’t think we have the community support to move forward,” he said before casting his “no” vote.
Britt said the district has been “intentional during this process. It’s an important topic. I contacted person in my zone that I could. I read every e-mail and answered every call. My responsibility is to listen to Zone 1. It’s also to do what’s right for the school. It’s a judgment call. I support the hybrid calendar, as did Zone 1.”
Britt said he wanted to “ask one thing. No matter the outcome, Scrappers always fight together. It’s never positive to divide. We’re better than that. Our kids are watching how we resolve conflict. Let’s teach them right,” he said to applause from the audience.
The district now will begin implementing the new calendar.
Classes will begin Thursday,
July 25, 2024, and will end Friday, June 6, 2025.
Although some have called the hybrid “year-round school,” the term isn’t completely accurate.
The calendar will include 12 breaks, ranging from one day to nearly three weeks.
Breaks include the following:
Sept. 2-6 Labor Day
Oct 14-18 Fall break
Nov. 11 and 12 Veterans Day
Nov. 25-29 Thanksgiving
Dec. 19-Jan. 7 Christmas
Jan. 20 Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Feb. 10-17 Winter break
March 21-28 Spring break
April 18 and 21 Good Friday and holiday
May 23 and 26 Memorial Day
Students will attend 178 days, just as they do under the traditional calendar.
Teachers will have 190 days, the same as they currently have.
In making the case for the hybrid, Graham said on several occasions that the new calendar is aimed at reducing burnout among students and faculty by providing more breaks. He said that families will be able to use the breaks to plan vacations, doctors visits and numerous other activities.
If school is canceled because of weather, as it was Jan. 16, the missed days will be made up during breaks instead of being added at the end of the year.