Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Schools Celebrate Tradition Bash Marks Return to Regular Calendar

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Schools Celebrate Tradition Bash Marks Return to Regular Calendar

Article excerpt

So celebratory is the mood at Chimney Lakes Elementary School

these days that teachers had a New Year's party on their first

day back.

And they were swinging at pinatas. In addition to candy and

gifts, the five pinatas contained the unpopular five-track

calendars under which the school had been operating.

It didn't take many swipes to burst the pinatas.

"The teachers took their aggravation out pretty darn well,"

said PTA President Liz Ford.

Afterward, they toasted each other with non-alcoholic

champagne and sang Auld Lang Syne with appropriately modified

lyrics.

Last month's party, sponsored by the PTA, marked the

long-awaited return to a traditional calendar. In 1993, to

relieve overcrowding, Chimney Lakes went on a modified calendar

with students rotating into the building year-round on five

schedules.

"Traditional is so much better than modified," said Sherry

Raymer, a first-grade teacher who heads the school's improvement

team.

The return was made possible by the building of Enterprise

Learning Academy, a new elementary school at the end of Old

Middleburg Road, which addressed the overcrowding issue.

After a full summer off for the first time in five years,

Chimney Lakes teachers, administrators and parents said they

returned to school renewed and eager for classes to begin.

"The energy level is extremely high from the standpoint of both

administrators and parents," Ford said.

One of the pilot schools to use a year-round schedule, Garden

City Elementary School on Dunn Avenue, switched from a modified

to a traditional calendar for the 1997-98 school year. The

school's last year on a modified schedule was 1996-97.

The modified calendar had been stressful, leaving little time

to plan for a new year or reflect on goals, officials with

Garden City said at the time.

With Enterprise's opening, Chimney Lakes' enrollment dropped

from 1,540 to 1,181. That's 48 more students than projected, but

still within capacity, Principal Verna Fields said. To ensure

Chimney Lakes did not exceed capacity, Fields limited the number

of students enrolled on special assignment. …

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