***The Northfield Board of Education made a decision at its Jan. 14, 2013 meeting not to move forward with a balanced calendar option for the 2013-14 school year. Click here for additional information about this decision. Please note that the three scheduled public meetings regarding the balanced calendar have been canceled.***

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The Northfield Board of Education is currently considering possible modifications to the school calendar for 2013-14 and beyond. The purpose of these modifications would be to move toward a more balanced calendar. A balanced calendar attempts to align instruction periods with holidays and other breaks, reducing shortened weeks and holiday interruptions. It also increases instructional days prior to high stakes assessments like MCAs, GRAD and AP tests to aid retention of learning and reduce re-teaching and review. It would keep the same total number of school days but would start before Labor Day in mid August and finish in May before Memorial Day with the end of the first semester coinciding with the start of a two week winter break and a new full week break in the fall.

A change of this type would require three public meetings, approval by the school board, the completion of an application to the Minnesota Department of Education and final approval by the Commissioner of Education. No decision can be made until all those things occur, but I felt it was important to let all parents and guardians know that changes may be implemented after thorough discussion occurs and if board and state approval occurs. These changes could impact the start and end dates of school next year as well as the breaks during the school year.

I have linked several documents from the board agenda for your review so that you have them to review before any discussion begins. These items are the copies of the traditional draft calendar for 2013-14 as well as the 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16 balanced calendar drafts.

I would also invite you to attend any of the upcoming board meetings or public information meetings on this topic.  school board meetings will be held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 14 and Jan. 28 in the Northfield High School Media Center.

Public information meetings on the calendar proposal will be held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 15, 17 and 22 in the Northfield High School Cafeteria.  Each information meeting will include a brief presentation and small group discussions that will allow participants to ask questions and tell us what they like and dislike about the calendar proposal.  All comments will be written down by small group recorders and will be copied and shared with all school board members prior to the Jan. 28 board meeting.

The following are available on the link:

  • 2013-14 Recommended Traditional Calendar draft – This draft was developed and recommended to the board by the Meet and Confer Committee a year ago as part of a two year calendar proposal (the board at that time chose only to approve the 2012-13 school year calendar so that we could consider other options for 2013-14 if they became available.)
  • 2013-14 Balanced Calendar draft – This draft was developed in response to the request from the board to provide a balanced calendar draft for 2013-14 that would respond to the district interests presented to the board on Dec. 10, 2012
  • 2014-15 Balanced Calendar draft – This draft uses the same district interests for 2014-15.
  • 2015-16 Balanced Calendar draft – This draft uses the same district interests for 2015-16.
  • District Interests – A list of potential district interests that could be addressed with a balanced calendar proposal.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Chris Richardson, Ph.D.