The Jefferson City School System's 2018-2019 administrators meetings are underway. New teacher orientation is scheduled for July 20th, teacher pre-planning begins July 23rd and students report July 27th.
School system calendars have undergone a significant transition over time. When I grew up in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, the school year never began until after Labor Day. Georgia schools operated in much the same fashion. My answers as to what brought about the change are as follows:
For centuries, tobacco ruled Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Most tobacco farms required that all hands be on deck until the crop was out of the field. The traditional September opening of the tobacco sales warehouses was cause for great celebration. There were high school and college Tobacco Bowl football games, harvest parades, Miss Tobacco Beauty Pageants and barbecues topped off by political speeches made from the back end of pickup trucks. The two crown jewels of these festivities were always the first day of school and the county fair.
This world no longer exists. Much less tobacco is grown, no tobacco warehouses are in operation, no more Tobacco Bowl football games are played and the last Miss Tobacco Beauty Queen probably works for the Virginia Heart and Lung Association. While Northeast Georgia did not produce tobacco, its past is similar to Virginia's. Agriculture ruled the day and families generally worked on their farms throughout the summer. As things changed in Virginia, they likewise changed in Georgia.
- There are advantages to be gained by ending the first 90 day semester prior to Christmas holidays. Jefferson High School operates on a block schedule, and students in grades 9-12 receive new class schedules at the beginning of each semester. It is advantageous for both students and teachers if second semester schedules are balanced, validated, and printed prior to returning in January. Prior to the change in school calendars, the first semester ended approximately 10 days after returning from Christmas.
- An earlier starting time has impacted student vacations in ways that have been well received. Examples would include a fall break, a full week at Thanksgiving, a winter break and graduation on the third Friday in May. These offerings were not practical using the format of the prior calendar.
- Air conditioned buildings. No elaboration necessary.
Thanks to all of our Jefferson supporters. Stay tuned for an update on Memorial Stadium.