Jordan High School (copy)

Jordan High School.

Jordan Public Schools’ 2020-21 school year doesn’t include a traditional spring break, but a week-long break could go back on the books if the school board receives state approval for a flexible learning year.

The Jordan School Board Monday night directed the administration to apply for a flexible learning year, which would allow the district to start school before Labor Day (Sept. 7) later this year.

The JPS 2020-21 calendar, adopted by the school board last month, is set to start on Sep. 8 and end June 3. A traditional spring break was originally on the chopping block for the 2020-21 school year due to the late start. The current calendar pares that break down to three days — April 1, 2, and 5 — giving students a five-day weekend. With a traditional break, students would be attending school into the second week of June.

If the flexible learning year application is approved by the Minnesota Department of Education, however, the 2020-21 school year could start on Aug. 31, include a week-long spring break and conclude by the first week of June.

Earlier this year the district surveyed staff and parents about the issue. Of the 325 parent/guardian respondents, 80% were in favor of pursuing a flexible learning year and 48% supported a week-long spring break.

About 90% of certified staff (97 respondents) supported the flexible learning year, with 39.2% in favor of reinstating the week-long break. About 88% of non-certified staff (49 respondents) supported the flexible learning year, with 32.7% in favor of reinstating the week-long break.

Board members discussed a few calendar options Monday night. The school year could start Aug. 31 and end June 1 with a spring break. Alternatively, school could end days before Memorial Day (May 31) with an abbreviated break, but the board directed staff to pursue a flexible learning year with a full spring break.

Specifics are expected to be hammered out at a Feb. 18 calendar committee meeting. State approval would allow the school to pursue flexible learning calendars for up to three years. The application deadline is March 6, after which the department has 45 days to review the plan.

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