Gillett graduation move seems permanent

Education better served with later date, says Carlson

Warren Bluhm,

The Gillett High School Class of 2020 can probably expect to graduate on the first Sunday in June, following the precedent to be set by the Class of 2019.

After a number of years when commencement was held during Memorial Day weekend, the school district set the ceremony for June 2 this year. According to teachers, the absence of seniors for nearly two weeks after graduation changed the school atmosphere and made it harder for remaining students to get end-of-the-year work completed.

“We’d like to have it on that last Sunday before the last week … (to maintain) that teaching time as much as we can with our students,” Superintendent Todd Carlson told the Gillett School Board on Thursday.

At that meeting, the board also got a report from Gillett FFA members who traveled to Indianapolis for their annual convention.

Members of the Class of 2019 appeared before the board in September to ask that the Memorial Day weekend graduation be restored. But after getting more input from teachers, the board decided in October to leave the 2018-19 calendar as is.

Carlson showed the board two options for the 2019-20 school year calendar, with only one difference: One calendar moves one in-service day, when teachers work on professional development and other matters without students present, from the end of the school year to the beginning.

“There’s really not a lot you can do with the school calendar,” he said. “It’s dictated when you have to start, and you have to have a number of hours of instruction in the school year.”

The superintendent said he would distribute the draft calendars to staff for their input, and a final draft will come to the board for approval in February or March at the latest.