Kennewick’s 2018 graduating class will receive their diplomas on the second Saturday in June.
The school board signed off on next year’s calendar, which allows for three snow days and spreads seven professional days throughout the year.
It also breaks from a recent trend of holding graduation on the first Saturday in June. It will occur one week later.
The move came after an unusual winter, which saw Kennewick and Pasco schools close for 10 days and Richland for nine days because of snow and ice.
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All three school districts struggled with when to schedule graduation, and the final snow days so students could spend at least 1,027 hours in class for the year.
Part of the problem in Kennewick is the school district did not have any snow days scheduled. The beginning of the calendar was constrained by the late August date of the Benton Franklin Fair and Rodeo.
Many students show animals at the fair. Eastgate Elementary is located next to the fairgrounds, creating possible distractions for students and traffic congestion for parents.
Having graduation on the first weekend in June can create problems on the other end — particularly when the first Saturday falls within the first few days in the month, Kennewick Superintendent Dave Bond has said.
The other issue it creates is pushing all of the training days for teachers to the beginning of the year. The district scheduled most of its training before the beginning of school.
“Our staff members do many things on professional development days. based on their position,” said Robyn Chastain, the director of communications and public relations.
Staff learn about new curricula, policies and procedures and new school programs. They also get a chance to analyze student data and collaborate on how to improve student learning.
Richland, which shares a contract for the Toyota Center with Kennewick, hasn’t begun discussions with its teachers union about the change. For now, its calendar 2017-2018 calendar has students graduating on June 8.