The Frankfort Independent Schools Board of Education OK’d the 2019-20 school calendar and gave tentative approval to its 2020-21 calendar at Monday evening’s meeting at Second Street School.

Like in years past, the district will operate with three-week intersessions occurring over fall and spring breaks. However, unlike previous years, the three weeks will be broken down into three increments — one week for EXCEL, one week for PEP and a one-week break.

For example, the first week of fall intersession students will be given an opportunity to participate in EXCEL, a program designed to help them catch up in the classroom. The second week of the fall intersession students will be able to participate in the Panther Enrichment Program (PEP), which offers learning programs when school is not in session. The third week would be the break period.

“I say we do this for two straight years, advertise the heck out of it and see how it goes,” said Superintendent Houston Barber, adding that he believes the programs will help alleviate the “summer slide,” learning backpedaling done over the course of a school break.

Board Chair Jina Greathouse said the updated school calendar would be a huge opportunity for gap students, those who suffer academically from a widening achievement gap.

“This calendar can be a great thing if used correctly,” she said.

Board member Dave Garnett agreed but wants the district to collect data along the way to see if the plan works.

Fellow board member Amelia Berry said she went door-to-door over spring break to ask parents and stakeholders what they thought of the intersessions and their feedback was “all over the map.” But one common theme was the lack of communication between students, parents and the schools.

“We have lots of room for growth and improvement. We need a schedule that fits with families of kids of all ages,” Berry said.

The board also agreed that the intersessions have to be marketed to both the parents and guardians and the students.

“I think we need to put this out there, first thing at (back-to-school) orientation so everybody is on the same page,” board member Tasha Jones added.

The 2019-20 school calendar will be available on the FIS website Tuesday morning.

The next FIS board meeting is set for 6 p.m. May 13 at central office.

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