Back to school

This is about halway between a General Question and MPSIMS, but my sister and I were talking about her kids starting school. We grew up in New York where elementary school starts after Labor Day and runs into the beginning of June. But my sister now lives in Texas where school starts in mid-August and ends in May. We realized that not only were we unable to think of a reason for this difference, but we also didn’t know which schedule was more common.

So to summarize, what is the elementary school year schedule in your state?

I’m in Des Moines, Iowa. Most of the schools here start the last Monday in August with a tentative end on the last Friday in May. However, schools around here close down often in the winter, and the kids have to make up the “inclimate weather” days at the end of the school year, so they end up going for a few days in June. Two or three of the elementary schools here converted to a year-round schedule a few years ago, it seems to be working well enough that the school board is considering doing it throughout the city. I don’t foresee it happening anytime before the 2001/2002 school year, though. Anyway, before I go completely off topic, that’s the way they do it here!

Being a mid-westerner all my life [Kansas and Oklahoma] the mid-August/May schedule is all I’ve ever experienced. The old story is that school years were timed around farm schedules. They needed the kids to help plant, weed, harvest, and other chores.

Since summer harvest season starts here before it does up north, the farm schedule story makes sense to me.

California schools, with the exception of those on year-round schedules, use the September-June schedule.
Few districts have to use “make up” days. I never got one, but I grew up in Southern California.
The colleges here use the August-May schedule if they are on a semester system. Schools on the quarter system (most notably UCLA and Stanford) go from October until June.

The school district here switched to Year-Round during my last year in high school (in '97). School runs from August 2nd this year until i think june 2nd next year. My university runs on a semester system, and we go back August 23rd, and end school in the middle of May. We also get about a month of winter vacation (6 weeks actually).

In the school system I attended, the school year started on the Wednesday before Labor Day and ended the first Friday of June, with the Thursday before off as a teacher workday.

Also, for junior high & high schools, the school day let out 2 hours early in September because so many students were employed in the local harvests, notably peaches.

I grew up in suburban Pittsburgh and attended public school there. With the exception of my senior year (when the schedule was shuffled to accomodate instruction) we always ended in June. Whether it was late or early June depended on whether we started back after Labor Day, or on the Tuesday before (which varied). Seems like most schools in the area kept a similar schedule.


Oops! I meant, “construction,” not “instruction.” Sorry about that.


In the Dakotas and Wyoming the elementary school year runs from last week in Aug to 3rd week in May.
In Wyoming JH and HS are similar but seniors graduate 1 week before school lets out for summer vacation.

Gen A.C. McAuliffe
“The general’s nuts.”
unknown 101st AB grunt

In Kentucky, school starts in mid August and is scheduled to run to early June. However if there are a lot of snow days (and there usually are) mid to late June is typical.

The problem here is not the amount of snow, it’s the fact that so many of the roads run up and down hills and around sharp curves, frequently at the same time. Also, in the winter when the sun is lower on the horizon many roads down in the hollows don’t see very much sunlight.

Carpe hoc!

When I was in school, here in SW Michigan, school never started before Labor Day, and we usually got out of school approximately June 6.

Now, school starts routinely about August 25, but they take a “mid winter” break in February, about a week.

Both schedules modified according to how many “snow days” we have. We don’t have as many now as when I was in school.

Here in the Chicago suburbs, it seems to be the fourth week in August until the middle of June for the public schools. The private schools we know of usually start and end about a week sooner. Don’t have any idea why.
However, the high school district here in town switched to an earlier start four years ago (just in time to make my son mad) because that way they could finish the first semester before Christmas. They end the year right around Memorial Day.

Down here in TN, our schools start (this year, at least) on August 18 and run through the first week of June, but when I was in elementary school (early 90’s) we started after Labor Day and went through until about the same time. Some people want us to go to a year-round system, but I just want out. :slight_smile:

In the six New England states, schools tend to run from the day after labor day until the last week of June. A few school districts start a bit earlier, like last week of August. There is also something unique to New England: The double “spring break” system. Unlike most of the country, which has a break in late March or early April, we had two weeks: one in February, one in April. The states tended to coordinate so as to avoid a mad rush on the mountains; If New Hampshire had 3rd week in Feb and 4th week in Apr, Massachusetts would do 4th week in Feb and 2nd week in April or something like that. This, often coupled with copious snow days (about 10 a year; and New Englanders tend to go to school in worse weather than about anywhere else in the country save Minnesota) often meant that school went until the late June 20s. Since teachers contracts usually stipulated that they couldn’t work into July, (IIRC, may have been myth) some districts had Saturday school in March to make up some days.

Jason R Remy

“Open mindedness is not the same thing as empty mindedness.”
– John Dewey Democracy and Education (1916)

Well, since the schools here are on a year round schedule, they get a week off in the fall, and then spring break. One thing i love about my University is we get 6 weeks of winter vacation :). I remember a friend who is enrolled at Harvard saying how envious she was of me because they only got something like two weeks off :).

“Let me show you something
that you’ve never seen before
like a light im gonna shine on you
forever is a word i dont often get to say
but if you say it loud enough i’ll say it too”