New duds, new date for Austintown school kids

Spring break won’t be affected by the approved calendar change for the 2009-10 school year.



AUSTINTOWN — Some township students will be leaving some of their fashions home next year when they’ll head back to the classroom for the first time before Labor Day .

The board of education unanimously approved a start date of Aug. 31 for the 2009-10 school year and implementation of a dress code for grades six through 12 Wednesday night.

Board President Richard Zimmermann explained the calendar change by saying classes have always begun around that time.

In 2008, Labor Day was Sept. 1. “We’re not starting any later than we did this year,” he said.

The district normally starts after Labor Day, but because it falls on Sept. 7, a week later than last year, Curriculum Director Vince Colaluca said the early start will help maximize classroom time. The change will provide as many academic days as possible before students take the Ohio Graduation Test in March.

Zimmermann said the only major change made to the calendar at last week’s work session was the length of spring break. Colaluca said the original plan was to give the Friday before Easter and the following Monday and Tuesday, but Zimmermann said too many faculty members disagreed with that proposal.

“We talked with teachers and they were concerned over that,” he said.

The board agreed to a full week, so the last day of school, tentatively set for June 3, was pushed back to June 8.

Zimmerman said another widely expressed concern has been that many children in the district participate in 4-H or work at the Canfield Fair the weekend before Labor Day.

So the Thursday before Labor Day will be a waiver day for all students.

“They will get off the Thursday and Friday for the fair,” Zimmermann said, adding, “A lot of kids buy their school clothes from money they make working at the fair.”

Chris Berni, middle school principal, said he was glad to see the hard work of the dress code committee pay off with a unanimous “yes” vote from the board. The committee of five building principals, four teachers, four parents and two board members, worked to create something that represents what an academic environment should look like, he said.

Berni said the new policy will be sent home with students in grades five through 11 and posted today on the district’s Web site,

Appropriate bottoms are jeans, cargo, dress or corduroy pants and shorts, capri pants, skirts, dresses and jumpers no shorter than 2 inches above the knee.

Tops include shirts with buttons and a collar, turtlenecks, mock turtlenecks, crew-neck, V-neck, cardigan, half and full-zippered sweaters and sweater vests.

“Falcon wear” will be permitted, which means school-sponsored crew-neck T-shirts and sweatshirts.

Despite the seemingly wide-range of choice, one student said she doesn’t think the new code is completely fair.

“I think some of it is a little ridiculous,” Nicole Pavlichich said. “So the $100 tennis warm-ups I got last year, I can’t even wear those anymore?”

Pavlichich, a junior, said she didn’t think the dress code as a whole was a bad idea, however.

“I think that monitoring the dress a little bit more will end up being better for us,” she said. Zimmermann said teachers, as well as administrators, will be expected to appropriately police the dress code.”

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