UPDATE (8:09 p.m.) – The Laurens District 55 School Board decided Monday on its academic calendar for the 2023-2024 school year.

During the meeting, all seven board members voted in favor of a modified calendar.

With this calendar, there are two 2-week intersessions, Dr. Jody Penland, the assistant superintendent for student services said. It will provide more breaks so teachers and students can recharge. 

According to Dr. Penland, some of that time will also be used to target students who need extra help. He believes the new calendar can set up students for success and help teachers intervene early. 

“It really gives us time to focus in on those kids that are having problems throughout the year, and not just addressing them at the end with summer school,” said Dr. Penland.


LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The Laurens District 55 School Board will decide Monday on its academic calendar for the 2023-2024 school year.

“I’m excited that the district is open to new ideas,” said parent Becky Sharp.

Three calendars are up for approval at Monday’s meeting: a traditional, modified, or year-round schedule.

“Several of our districts around us have been going to a modified calendar, so we’ve actually been looking at that with our communities, with our schools,” said Dr. Jody Penland, the assistant superintendent for student services in Laurens 55.

Dr. Penland said the district could switch to a modified or year-round schedule, In these options, there are two 2-week intersessions, giving students a break and a chance for extra learning support.

“One of those weeks would be utilized for student intercession to bring those kids back in, kind of do like a mini summer school,” said Dr. Penland.

He believes these breaks set up students for success and help teachers intervene early.

“It really gives us time to focus in on those kids that are having problems throughout the year, and not just addressing them at the end with summer school,” said Dr. Penland.

Some district parents said they support changing the school calendar.

“When I started actually looking at the calendar and thinking about it, it made a lot of sense actually to be switching to either the modified or the year round,” said Sharp.

She believes it can keep students engaged with shorter summer breaks, while also providing time to recharge.

“I think it will bring down stress levels probably on the teachers and the students because there’s not that pressure to squeeze it all into a short amount of time,” said Sharp.

She also said her students are older, so childcare during the breaks isn’t a concern. Dr. Penland said it’s a concern they’ve discussed with local providers to make sure frequent care is available.

“Sometimes, it’s easier to find smaller gaps of coverage for childcare than it would be for the entire summer,” said Penland.

The school board meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday night. The Laurens District 56 School Board also meetings Monday and will look at its calendar options for the 2023 to 2024 school year. The board will hear its first of two readings, before deciding on a schedule.