In the old days, the new school year began in early September, only after the Labor Day holiday had come and gone.


In the old days, the new school year began in early September, only after the Labor Day holiday had come and gone.

With a few exceptions, those days are long gone. Students are now starting school in late August. Caesar Rodney School District and Campus Community students went back to school Wednesday. Students in the Capital School District went back on Thursday and Friday.

Opinions about the earlier arrivals varied among students, while school officials maintain starting early gives students a head start on learning for the year.

“It started too early,” Dover Air Base Middle School eighth grader Alexus Miller said.

But fellow eighth-grader Dallas Smith pointed out the positive.

“We haven’t seen each other all summer so it is good to see each other again,” she said.

Sixth grader Alyssa Beckwith, 11, is new to Delaware, so her family is new to starting school in August.

“We came from Virginia and they started school in September,” said her mother, Kim Schonlaw.

“I don’t mind it. I gets them out of school in May and it gives them the entire month of June, July and most of August for their summer,” she said. “I think summer starts in June anyway.”

Dover Air Base eighth grader Haille Adams and Joy Carter, both 13, disagreed on the August start time.

“I think that we should still be asleep right now,” Carter said.

“I think that we should start in August because if [the first day] takes too long, we forget stuff,” Adams said. “And we miss our friends. I think it’s good to start in August.”

Fourth graders at adjacent Major George S. Welch Elementary School, also on the Air Force Base, were quite thoughtful on the issue of going to back to school in late August as opposed to September.

“We’re a little sad and happy,” Welch fourth grader Asa Karpel said. “I wish it started in September and have a little bit longer vacation.”

“I get to meet my friends again,” fourth grader Patrick Arnold said.

Welch school counselor Heidi Wuller remembers the olds days of starting after Labor Day. But she recognizes the benefits of starting earlier.

“I think it’s good to get the early start because that helps to bolster their educational learning time,” she said.

These days, the school year amounts to 10 months, not nine months, Welch Principal Alane Brown said. So the earlier start time is needed.

And more schools in the First State have moved toward an extended school year, Dover Air Base Interim Principal Susan Whitaker said. Whitaker, who retired from Caesar Rodney’s Postlethwait Middle several years ago, is leading the school until a permanent replacement is found.

“I think more kids are ready to go to school now than staying in school late in June,” she said. “It gets a head start on what they need to do throughout the year.”

Indeed, Welch fourth graders McKayla Caktea, Hannah Herman and Megan Hurlbert, all 9, were quick to dismiss the idea of starting school in September.
“I wish it started earlier because school’s really exciting,” Herman said. “We learn new things. We just have a blast.”

“You get to learn and stuff and you get to have fun,” Hurlbert said.

Opinions were also split at Dover High School in the Capital School District, where the first day of school was Friday for the Senators.

Dover High School juniors Damon Butler and Alexis Simms, both 16, wish school started in September.

“I think it should  be after Labor Day,” Butler said.

But Dover seniors Jesse Danso and Jarrod Cann, both 17, preferred starting in August.

“I say get it over quick,” Danso said.

Dover seniors Cortney McCoy and Cory Schwartzmiller agreed.

“I like getting out earlier,” McCoy said.

“Summer’s right after school ends,” Schwartzmiller said.

When he was a freshman, Kristyon Bolduc was in Texas, where he always started at the end of August.

“So, I’m used to it,” he said.