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Hartselle changes school schedule, moves exams to before Christmas

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — If you are among those students who complained about taking first semester exams after Christmas, change is on the way.

Beginning this year, Hartselle is mirroring what other area school systems do, Superintendent William Michael Reed said.

"We're going to give kids semester exams before they leave for Christmas break," he said.

The majority of school employees recommended the new calendar and the board ratified it. Reed said the system narrowed six calendars to three before 196 employees voted for the final calendar.

The one thing that Hartselle hasn't resolved for board Chairman Dr. Andy Dukes is eliminating extracurricular activities during exam week. He wants the system to prohibit activities starting with the Friday before exams until they end.

Athletic Director Bob Young said this may be a problem, especially for next year, because Hartselle may already have athletic contracts to play other schools. There's also the issue of the state football playoffs.

"We're going to try not to schedule any events, but we do not set the state playoff dates," Reed said.

"I'm just concerned about kids at basketball games or a chorus concert while they are trying to study," Dukes said.

"Right now, we just need to go back to the old procedure and do what other schools are doing," board member Jeff Gray said.

At the request of the board, Reed said he will appoint a committee consisting of teachers, support personnel and PTO members to look at the next schedule.

Ultimately, the superintendent said, he wants Hartselle to adopt a two-year schedule.

"This makes it easier for planning," he said.

Susan Hayes, who worked at the high school before becoming Barkley Bridge Elementary principal, supports the committee approach to establishing the school calendar.

She said one problem Hartselle has with the current method is that schools don't understand each other's needs.

"If anything comes out of the committee meeting, it will be that the schools will have a better understanding of each other," Hayes said.

The first day for students next year will be Aug. 9. First semester exams will be the week before students break for Christmas on Dec. 20.

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