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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's hard to believe, but some students are getting ready to head back to class this week -- and a major change to the calendar marks the start of the year for some southern Indiana schools.
Hsiao-Ling Gardner packed away her new classroom at Henryville High School, saying when students return Thursday, it will be much calmer than the year before.
Gone are the days when talk at the school centered on the twister that ripped it apart. Now a much lighter subject comes up for discussion: the new balanced school calendar.
"At first I thought, 'Oh, no, no, where did the summer go?' But I think it will be great," Gardner said.
It's nine weeks on, two weeks off, and most southern Indiana school districts will make the change on Aug. 1.
Greater Clark County Schools, West Clark Community Schools, New Albany Floyd County Schools, South Harrison Community Schools and Clarksville Community Schools are just some of the districts that have adopted the change.
Students will see two more vacation weeks during the school year -- one week added to fall break, and two weeks for spring break. The school year is still 180 days, but summer is shorter, only eight weeks.
Principal Troy Albert already told Gardner and other faculty members that days before and after these breaks must be for teaching.
"What's the thinking behind this? That kids will be more refreshed and come back ready to go," Albert said. "My worry, of course, is making sure kids in fact are ready to go, and teachers and students have to know the instructional days are very important."
He fears an even greater loss of instruction if they take it easy around the vacations.
While Kristie Rappe and her kids look forward to the change, she says she understands why it may cause some parents difficulty.
"Get back in school quicker so they retain the information they had from last year," Rappe said.
"I can understand those that do have childcare issues," she said. "So if they don't have means through the school to accommodate those parents, there's going to be some issues with those younger kids."
Back in class, Gardner is ready for the new challenge.
"I've always worked all the way to the last day," Gardner said. "I can't speak for the math teachers or history, but art...I'm just happy to be here, and the kids, I just try to get them excited."
Some school districts plan to use the extra weeks off in fall and spring for intersession, where students can catch up or get ahead on school work.