Solar eclipse day! Solon Schools students to get day off April 8
SOLON, Ohio — Students in the Solon City School District will get the day off April 8 due to the timing of the total solar eclipse slated for that afternoon.
On Monday (Jan. 8), Superintendent Fred Bolden told the Solon Board of Education that the district’s administration has decided to make that date a professional day for teachers, with no school for students.
Northeast Ohio will be in the direct pathway of the eclipse during the district’s school dismissal times, Bolden said.
“Our Solon safety forces have asked us to not have students in the building,” he said. “They’re anticipating a large volume of people coming to Northeast Ohio.
“This is literally a once-in-a-lifetime event that’s going to happen — right when the bulk of our students are going to be dismissed.”
Bolden said the decision was made after conversations with other area school districts.
“We tried to see if there was a way to do an early dismissal, but with lunches and the timing of the building sequence, we couldn’t figure out a way to make that work,” he said. “So we’re going to make this a teacher professional day.
“I’m still working with the staff and how that’s going to work for them. But I wanted to make sure we got that information out to all of our families.”
Bolden said he expects this item will be on the agenda for approval at the board’s next meeting, at 6 p.m. Jan. 22.
District calendar approved
In other action, the board approved the district calendar for the 2024-25 academic year — despite concerns expressed by a parent.
A public hearing for the calendar, as required by law, was held at the board’s previous meeting Dec. 4.
In the calendar, the first day of school for students in grades 1-12 is Aug. 14. The first day for kindergartners is Aug. 16, and preschool begins Aug. 19.
The school year will also end earlier than usual, on May 29, 2025.
David Miller, a Solon resident and parent, asked the board to consider adjusting the calendar so that it aligns with that of Mayfield City Schools. The Excel TECC career technical program, in which Solon Schools participates, is based at Mayfield High School.
“The calendar that you are looking at adopting starts eight days sooner than the consortium school district that we work with,” Miller said. “We work with Mayfield Schools for our Excel TECC program, so we’re not in sync with them.
“I know it’s difficult for all schools to have the exact same calendar. I certainly appreciate that, being an educator myself.
“But I would like the board to consider maybe some adjustment to this draft, so that we would be closer in alignment with the school district that we work so intimately with.”
Miller, a teacher in the Orange City School District, serves as president of the Orange Teachers Association.
“From a parent perspective, starting school Aug. 14 is just anathema to everything I know as a human being,” he said.
“I don’t want my kids in school that early in the school year. The weather is so much nicer, and so many activities are going on into August.
“So I would like you to consider a later start, of possibly students starting on Wednesday, Aug. 21, or Thursday, Aug. 22, as you review the calendar.”
Bolden said the 2024-25 calendar was sent to the community to request feedback after it was introduced at the December board meeting.
“As is our requirement, after we share the calendar widely, it then comes to the board for a vote to have it ratified as a contract,” he said.
“If any subsequent changes to the calendar were to be made, those would have to be presented at another board meeting and approved at a later date.”
Bolden added that the calendar is done in conjunction with the Solon Education Association.
“They review the calendar and provide feedback and help us make adjustments to it prior to it going to the board and the public for review,” he said.
Board member Kevin Patton asked, “Isn’t it also true that as you’re planning the calendar, you have discussions with the neighboring school systems about their calendars?”
Bolden replied that is the case.
“Many school districts have more days off than we do in the course of the school year,” he said. “They (Excel TECC) start a little later than we start, and they also finish a little later than we do.
“We do synchronize our spring breaks, so that (they) are always the last week in March, which aligns with the consortium. But we do consult with other districts to see what they are doing as well.”
After Bolden’s comments, the board approved the 2024-25 calendar unanimously, with no changes.
Peer models sought
Also on Monday, Bolden said the district seeks children ages 3-5 who live in the district to participate as peer models in the preschool program at the Regano Early Learning Center for the 2024-25 school year.
The Regano ELC serves children with special needs, as well as typically developing students who serve as peer models, Bolden noted.
An information program is set for 6 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 11) via Zoom to share details about the screening process and becoming a peer model.
The preschool peer models benefit from participating in developmentally appropriate preschool programming, led by master teachers in the field of early education, Bolden said.
Children must be age 3 by March 1, as well as “potty trained” by the start of school, to participate in next year’s program, he said.
Regano ELC classes meet Monday through Thursday for 2.5 hours per day.
To register for the information program, visit https://forms.gle/jSkE8k9LF7j9LEhK7. The district will also post the link to the program on its website, solonschools.org.
Families who register will receive the Zoom link via email prior to the program.
Solon and Glenwillow families with students who will be kindergarten age in the fall should mark their calendars with important dates for Kindergarten Information Night and kindergarten registration, Bolden said.
Kindergarten Information Night, a virtual program, is slated for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 29.
A family information survey for incoming kindergartners can be accessed directly at https://forms.gle/NY8FHnSvJK5mvwAx6. The Zoom link for the program will be posted on the district’s website the week of Feb. 29.
Kindergarten Information Night is a welcome program for all parents and guardians of incoming kindergarten students for this fall. The principals and school counselors from Lewis, Parkside and Roxbury elementary schools will provide an overview of the kindergarten program and the registration process.
The district’s centralized online kindergarten registration will run March 4-15. The link to the online registration portal will go live March 4 on the district’s website.
Families must complete their child’s registration during the spring centralized registration window March 4-15 to be guaranteed kindergarten placement at their home school.
“Kindergarten enrollment numbers are a key data point for appropriate planning and staffing next year, so it is critical that families register their students for kindergarten during the March registration window,” Bolden said.
Kindergarten screening will be the first week of June. Families will receive sign-up information for screening in May after their child is fully registered for kindergarten.
Read more from the Chagrin Solon Sun.