Berkeley County students and teachers will get a two-week winter break in the 2013-14 school year if the proposed academic calendar passes final reading next month.

“There might not be any topic that holds more passion than the school calendar,” said district spokeswoman Amy Kovach.

The Berkeley County School Board gave first reading Tuesday to a calendar that ends the fall semester before the holidays and closes school from Dec. 21 to Jan. 5, with Jan. 6 as a teacher work day.

This year’s break was Dec. 22 to Jan. 1 with teacher workdays on Dec. 21 and Jan. 2.

“We heard loud and clear that people want two weeks for winter break,” Kovach said.

Another consideration for the new calendar was spring break, she said. Because Easter in 2014 is April 20, spring break will be the week before Easter to allow middle schools more time to prepare for PASS testing, which is May 6-9. Most other years it has been after Easter.

Other highlights of the calendar:

Aug. 12 — Teachers return to school.

Aug. 19 — First day for students.

Nov. 27-29 — Thanksgiving break.

May 30 — Last day for students.

The calendar once again closely mirrors the proposed schedule for Dorchester District 2, Dorchester District 4 and Charleston County School District.

It will be official if it passes a second reading Feb. 12.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or