Many Illinois Students Head Back To School As Early As Next Week

CHICAGO (CBS) — For thousands of school-age children in Illinois, this will be the last weekend of their summer break. The new school year starts for them next week.

This will be the second year for a mid-August start for Community Consolidated School District 15 in the northwest suburbs. The district’s 12,600 students begin classes for the new year on Wednesday.

“There are a few parents who would like the summer to go longer and they think a Sept. 1 date would be the best thing, but most parents find it works fine,” said District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson said.

Superintendent Lisa Hitchens of Batavia School District 101 said 83 percent of districts in Illinois started during the same mid-August week last year. She calls the early start “the new normal” in Illinois.

She said the so-called “collegiate calendar” benefits schools because semesters and blocks can have their final exams completed before the winter break begins, allowing students to actually enjoy their winter break.

For District 15, Dr. Thompson said there are other reasons a mid-August start works well. He says that by aligning with high school calendars, his district is able to use high schools for 8th grade graduations during the small window between when classes end for the regular school year and summer school and sports programs begin.

He also said it makes it easier for graduating 8th graders who want to take high school summer school classes to be able to take them.

Dr. Hitchens said that, along with an early start to school, comes an earlier end to the school year, too, barring the need to make up snow days. She said the next summer vacation begins for District 101 before Memorial Day.

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