Mehlville Board of Education approves 2022-2023 academic calendar

Calendar offers “alternative methods of instruction” days

Mehlville+Superintendent+Chris+Gaines+talks+to+a+teacher+in+a+hallway+while+schools+were+all-virtual+in+fall+2020.+

Mehlville Superintendent Chris Gaines talks to a teacher in a hallway while schools were all-virtual in fall 2020.

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

The Mehlville Board of Education approved the district’s 2022-2023 academic calendar at its meeting Dec. 16. 

The first day of the 2022-2023 school year will be Monday, Aug. 22. 

Each year, a committee of 25 to 30 teachers, parents, community members and district administration meet to develop the calendar before submitting it to the board for final approval. The 2022-2023 calendar has 1044 hours of students attendance, which equates to roughly 174 days of school, said Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Brian Smith. 

The calendar includes 36 weather makeup hours, which is about five days. There are 182 contracted teacher days, including three and a half self-directed teacher workdays. 

“We looked at calendars from Webster Groves, Parkway, Rockwood, Fox, Hazelwood, Francis Howell, Lindbergh and Kirkwood in this process and looked at some of the trends that specifically exist there,” Smith said. 

The first day of class, Aug. 22, is the earliest any district can start, after the state legislature passed a law in 2019 that bars the first day of school from being any earlier than 10 days before the Labor Day holiday. The last day of school for the 2022-2023 school year is tentatively scheduled for Friday, May 26, 2023. 

Fall break was moved up by two weeks to Oct. 14, subsequently moving parent-teacher conferences up two weeks as well. School will resume after the holiday break Jan. 4, 2023, with the last day of the first semester being Jan. 12. According to Smith there was some conversation about trying to get everything done for the first semester prior to the holidays, but the school year start date set state makes that nearly impossible. 

The committee also looked at historical attendance in the district and dates that attendance is typically not great for various reasons, including religious observances. There will be no school April 21, 2023, in observance of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, which Smith said the district usually sees 15 to 20 percent of students absent that day anyways. 

There was some discussion by the board about make-up inclement weather days at the end of the school year. A state law that went into effect for the 2020-2021 school year allows students to work remotely rather than use a snow day. Schools are able to use up to five alternative methods of instruction, or AMI, days to replace snow days, which then do not have to be added on to the end of the school year. 

Board President Kevin Schartner questioned if the plan should be to automatically default to AMI days in the event of inclement weather and then in the event that isn’t possible, do a traditional snow day. 

“I know it (AMI) gives flexibility but I don’t know in a calendar if we really want that flexibility or if we want to nail down so that people can make plans based on the calendar,” Schartner said. 

Superintendent Chris Gaines cautioned against making any kind of plans until after the week of Memorial Day, regardless of the flexibility provided by AMI days. 

“In the school world, it’s best to not make any vacation plans the week of Memorial Day because we just don’t know whether we’re going to be in school after Memorial Day or not. If we miss school for 12 days because of weather, or if we miss one day for flu, we have to go after Memorial Day. We cannot use AMI for flu.” Gaines said. “So the notion that we can leave after Memorial Day and it’s always going to be protected — we can not guarantee that. Whole district without power? Have to make it up, we can’t use AMI. So while it may be a rarity we go after Memorial Day with AMI, it’s still a distinct possibility.” 

The board unanimously approved the calendar as presented.