Lakeview Academy begins class Monday, giving students two extra weeks of summer this year, much to the delight of faculty and parents.
Though Lakeview traditionally started at the same time as Hall County and Gainesville schools, construction projects set the calendar back a bit this year.
"With this construction and the rain and humidity, we wanted to be sensitive to that. We didn't think it was a good idea for construction and students to mix," said Head of School John Kennedy. "We pushed it back two weeks. Our parents just loved it."
Having two extra weeks of summer meant families were able to take additional vacations, student-athletes had more time to relax before their seasons started and new students had additional opportunities to get acclimated.
"We took another trip to see some family, a little trip to Myrtle Beach. We just hung out together as a family," said Sharon Schafer, a Gwinnett County resident whose son attends Lakeview. "Just having the extra time has been great. It gives us moms extra breathing room."
Kennedy said the seniors had a two-day college readiness boot camp. Students received their laptops at the annual Out of the Box party earlier this month and the entire campus participated in a drop-in day.
"It's just a more leisurely pace where they get to know people," Kennedy said. "We looked at it and said this is more family friendly."
Schafer said everyone she's spoken to enjoys the extra time off. Her son also enjoys watching the neighborhood kids go off to class while he's sitting at home, basking in a few extra days of summer sun.
To make up for some of the extended summer holiday, Lakeview officials chose to remove parent-teacher conference days from the calendar. The school will operate on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week.
"We tried to think of the parents, especially single parents and those who both work," Kennedy said. "It didn't make sense for them to take a whole day off to schedule a 20-minute conference."
Because Lakeview is an independent school, it is not bound by the constraints of statewide testing as are public schools, Kennedy said.
Students will be taking their first semester exams after winter break because of the late start, but Kennedy said the way their classes are structured, it makes sense to do it this way.
"They have two weeks off at Christmas where if they're behind, they can study and catch up," he said.
The school year should end around the same time as it usually does at the end of May, Kennedy said.