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News / Clark County News

Washougal School District alters 2024-25 calendar, aims to provide better flexibility to students, staff

School year begins Sept. 3

By Doug Flanagan, Camas-Washougal Post-Record
Published: April 6, 2024, 6:38am

WASHOUGAL — The Washougal School District has changed the 2024-25 school calendar, hoping to provide more flexibility to students, families and staff members.

The schedule includes a “semester break” day Feb. 3, rather than a professional development day in October, and five inclement weather days — three within the school year, according to district spokesman Les Brown.

“Feedback from our teachers was that having a nonstudent day between first and second semesters helps them be prepared, especially if they are teaching different courses between the two terms,” Brown said. The group recommended the extra snow day with the hope of not extending the school year.

The district’s 2024-25 school year will begin Sept. 3 and end June 17, 2025. Winter break is scheduled for Dec. 23 to Jan. 3, with spring break spanning March 31-April 4. The Washougal High School 2025 commencement will be June 14, 2025.

District leaders met Jan. 4 with teacher and classified employee union members, principals and student representatives to the school board, Alex Vanderfang, Buggy Eakin and Claire Zakovics, according to Washougal School District Assistant Superintendent Aaron Hansen.

“The district uses a collaborative process with representatives of many different groups to develop priorities for the calendar,” Brown said. The groups identify priorities while recognizing the various requirements that the calendar must meet.

Aligning schedules

The state requires 180 student attendance days. Other objectives included observing legal holidays; aligning the 10-day winter vacation and five-day spring break with nearby districts; identifying a minimum of four inclement weather days; identifying four certificated professional development days and eight early release conference days; reserving the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as a nonattendance day for students; and ending the first semester on a Friday.

The group then reviewed calendars from neighboring districts, developed two versions of the calendar, and sent a survey to various staff groups to gather input.

“Our district has many students who have parents who work in neighboring districts, so coordinating days off is helpful for members of our community,” Brown said.

Including students in the calendar development process and having board representatives vote on the calendar “is one way we ensure that student voice is included in decision making,” according to Brown.

“We believe (that) student voice is important,” said Superintendent Mary Templeton. “Having our student representatives to the board cast advisory votes helps students engage in the process and understand the governance of schools.”

The Washougal school board approved the calendar during its meeting on March 26.