Palm Beach County School Updates

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School year calendar

The school year will be one day shorter.

Palm Beach County School Board Members signed off on shortening the school year, extending Thanksgiving break and elimination some half days for the upcoming school year.

The new calendar will:

Turn five half-days that were used for teacher training into full school days. School district data indicated many parents would not send their children to school on the shorter days because of their work schedules.

Extend Thanksgiving Break to an entire week.

Drop the number of school days to 179 from 180. Students won’t lose out on any time in the class room because of the extension of the half-days into full days.

The new school year will begin on Aug. 14 and end on May 31. Any hurricane days will be tacked onto the end of the school year.

The district estimates it will save money by closing the entire Thanksgiving week.

District, school board member honored by United Way

The School District and School Board Member Erica Whitfield have been honored by the United Way of Palm Beach County for supporting students who experience hunger.

The District was given a fifth place Simply the Best Award and also received the Community Commitment Award.

The prestigious Simply the Best Award celebrates campaign successes and recognizes companies and individuals that ran outstanding, creative campaigns in support of United Way.

In addition to the accolades, District 4 School Board member Erica Whitfield won the Hunger Hero award. Whitfield is part of a team working to provide every homeless student in the county with a weekend backpack full of food for them and their families, all through private funding.

“It’s so important to have kids come to school ready to learn, and not suffering from hunger. That’s what happens to so many kids in Palm Beach County every Monday morning,” Whitfield said.

According to the United Way, Palm Beach County has the highest rate of food insecurity in South Florida. In particular, 64,000 children don’t have enough to eat on a daily basis. To combat the problem, the United Way collaborates with more than 60 agencies in the community, as well as individual contributors and volunteers.

“It has been amazing to be a part of the process of tackling hunger in Palm Beach County,” Whitfield said. “This has been a gift for me to be involved in, I felt so honored.”

Summer reading

Best-selling author James Patterson is helping kids read this summer by donating 30,000 books to middle school students in the county.

All sixth graders will receive Patterson’s Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life and seventh graders will receive Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment.

Students at Congress Community Middle School in Boynton Beach were recently surprised by Patterson when he visited the school and talked to the students about summer reading before handing out his books.