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Dist. 203 changes 2013 graduation date

Naperville Unit District 203 has changed its 2013 graduation date to May 20, two days later than originally planned. (Melissa Jenco/Tribune)

Naperville Unit District 203 has changed its 2013 graduation date to May 20, two days later than originally planned. (Melissa Jenco/Tribune)

High school graduation will be pushed back two days next spring in Naperville Unit District 203.

The ceremony had been scheduled for Saturday, May 18, but now will be on Monday, May 20.

“Concern has come forward that the scheduled date of May 18 presents some potential conflicts with high school students participating in other events, mostly athletic,” Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education Dan Bridges told the school board.

As many as seven athletic events could already be taking place May 18, some of which require considerable travel.

“It shows the pitfalls of starting as early as we did this past year because the earlier you start the earlier you end and the more conflicts you have,” board President Mike Jaensch said.

After meeting with administrators from both Naperville North and Central high schools, district officials decided to recommend a change.

Moving the commencement ceremony to May 20 isn’t a perfect solution, Bridges said. It still could present a conflict with the boys volleyball team, but he said it would be a regional prelim game, and there tends to be flexibility with scheduling in that round of the tournament.

Holding the ceremony on May 20 also puts it the night before underclassmen finals begin, which could present a challenge for underclassmen who have to be at the ceremony to perform in the band or watch a sibling graduate.

Vice President Jackie Romberg asked if accommodations could be made for those students.

“What they (high school administrators) indicated is that yes for those students that participate there would be some flexibility in their scheduling so we could avoid those potential conflicts,” Bridges replied.

In scheduling future graduation ceremonies, he recommended the district use the IHSA calendar that begins July 1 and that commencement be scheduled at least 47 weeks later.

“That day of the week would be determined considering a number of factors including potential conflict with activities and athletics, final exams for underclass students, the number of days between the last day of attendance for seniors and the actual commencement,” he said.

Board members agreed with both the 2013 change and the procedure for future years.

“I personally like the approach and think it’s been thoughtfully done,” Romberg said.

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