School routine will change for many Beauregard students

All Beauregard Parish School Board students will begin the 2024-25 school year on Thursday, Aug. 8, and end it on May 22, 2025.

For the district’s four-day campuses — schools in Merryville and Singer — not much will be different; however, BPSB’s other schools will operate under a new five-day hybrid calendar. Under this schedule, students will have Fridays off, with the exception of August, September, Oct. 11 and 18, and March 7, 2025.

BPSB Assistant Superintendent Cord Ensminger told The American Press that the effort to create a new calendar began after the district had several requests to explore calendar options that change the start date of the school year while retaining the number of holidays for the 2023-24 school year.

BPSB’s solution to this request was to increase the length of the school day by 15 minutes and reduce the number of days attended. This was implemented in the 2023-24 calendar year. Following this change, new requests arose.

“We had multiple requests to try a hybrid schedule for the 2024-25 calendar year, while maintaining the same number of instructional days from the 2023-24 school year.”

BPSB’s four-day schools previously had the number of school days reduced. These schools have been on a four-day school schedule for over 25 years. Ensminger said that there was vast constituent interest in expanding this calendar to all Beauregard district schools, with factors like teacher recruitment and retention and cost savings being considered.

In the summer of 2023, BPSB discussed the possibility of adopting a district-wide four-day calendar at length over the course of several meetings. While much of the community vocalized support, there were concerns over potential spikes in juvenile delinquency, longer school hours, lower test scores and a lack of childcare options.

In August 2023, the board compromised with the decision to develop a five-day hybrid calendar with the “intention of minimizing extending school,” said board member Raymond Bowman, district 4B, at a meeting that month.

When developing the calendar, it was paramount to ensure that it followed state regulations regarding instructional time. According to the Louisiana Handbook for School Administrators, local education agencies are required to ensure that each school year calendar has a minimum of 63,720 minutes of instructional time.

By expanding each school day by 15 minutes, this quota is met. Additionally, the length of the school year was reduced by about two weeks, he said. This change allows for a lengthy summer break and significantly longer holiday breaks.

Schools operating on the four-day school calendar attend class from 7:40 a.m. until 3:58 p.m. The hybrid campuses begin school at the same time, but let out at 3:17 p.m. Ensminger noted that while the start time for the 2024-25 school year is earlier than this academic year, the length of the school day has not changed.

“This will help align our calendar to the same start date as other districts in our area.”

Schools that will utilize the hybrid calendar include: Beauregard Alternative Program, Carver Elementary, DeRidder High School, DeRidder  Jr. High, East Beauregard Elementary, East Beauregard High, K. R. Hanchey  Elementary, Pine Wood Elementary, South Beauregard Elementary, South Beauregard Upper  Elementary and South Beauregard High.

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