Weekly roundup: An earlier start date for Los Al students, The Deeper Learning Podcast, and more

Joining a number of other local districts that have moved up their start dates, Los Alamitos Unified will welcome back students from their summer vacations on Aug. 8 this year, the Orange County Register reports.

A group of students run toward their elementary school

The altered schedule provides an extra week off in February around Presidents’ Day, and schools will be shuttered the entire week of Thanksgiving.

May 30, rather than mid-June, will mark the end of the academic year.

Los Al Superintendent Sherry Kropp told the Register that the earlier start will give students more time to prepare for AP tests, and it will align the end of the first semester with the start of winter recess.

“AP tests are given in May at the same time across the nation,” Kropp said. “If kids have another six weeks to learn the material, that raises pass rates.”

You might have noticed that back-to-school season has hit us sooner in recent years, with a number of OC districts making an academic case for beginning earlier in August and wrapping up before June.

In 2017, the Anaheim Union High, Centralia, Cypress and Savanna school districts opened their doors on Aug. 9; the Santa Ana Unified, Anaheim Elementary, Buena Park, Fullerton and Fullerton Joint Union school districts followed on Aug. 14.

And here are some other education stories that caught our attention this week:

  • A report by the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Inspector General is calling into question the accuracy of California’s record-high graduation rate, but state officials are standing by their calculations.

As always, you can keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking newsroom.ocde.us. You can also find us on social media and subscribe for email updates.