KIDS IN Philadelphia public schools will soon start classes before Labor Day - and finish earlier in June - if proposed changes are adopted by the School Reform Commission.
Cheryl Logan, the Philadelphia School District's chief academic support officer, is scheduled to introduce calendars for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years at Tuesday's SRC meeting.
If the calendars are adopted, students would start school Sept. 5 and finish June 14 in 2017-18. By 2018-19, school would start Aug. 27 and finish June 4.
Teachers would report earlier, too - Aug. 28 in 2017-18 and Aug. 20 in 2018-19.
This year, the first day of school for students was Sept. 7, and students are scheduled to complete the term June 20.
The changes are proposed with academics in mind, Logan said.
"This is a way for us to get more instructional time during what I call 'prime time,' " she said. "The more instructional time we get in before Memorial Day, the better."
Student attendance lags considerably in June.
The new-look calendars would bring the district more in sync with districts around the region, many of which start classes before Labor Day. So do many city charter schools.
Officials considered the weather in making their decision, Logan said: Most Philadelphia schools are old and lack central air conditioning, making classes during the warmer months uncomfortable.
But there was little difference in average temperature in late June and early September, she said, so that did not factor into officials' decision.
In another change, most half days are shifting to Fridays. Students currently have some half days throughout the week, and teachers report impacted attendance throughout the week when that happens.
The only exception to Friday half days are shortened days for report card conferences, which require multiple days in a week.
As they do this year, students and staff would have days off for the Muslim holidays Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
Students and staff also would have days off for the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but would not have off for Columbus Day.
The proposed changes were vetted with dozens of people, including representatives from the city and faith communities, officials said.
The current Philadelphia Federation of Teachers' contract, which mandates 181 days of student instruction and has teachers working 188 days, allows for the changes, said Logan.
After introduction at Tuesday's SRC meeting, the calendars are scheduled to be voted on at the commission's December meeting.