PLEASANTON -- School officials are considering whether to change the Pleasanton's school year calendar in hopes of improving learning conditions for students and teachers.

Proposed changes are still in the preliminary phase but the district's calendar committee is planning to meet within the next two weeks to explore the idea further, said Mark McCoy, Pleasanton Unified's director of human resources.

"We're going to start internal conversations immediately," he said Friday. "The only goal is to provide a better school calendar for kids."

The current calendar for Pleasanton Unified -- which has 14,800 students attending 14 K-12 campuses, two continuation schools and an adult school -- starts in late August and ends mid-June.

Two alternative options are being explored, McCoy told trustees at Tuesday's school board meeting. One is an "early start calendar," which would move up the current school year's start and end dates.

The second is a "modified calendar," like that used in Brentwood and several other districts in eastern Contra Costa County. That option calls for starting classes in late July and ending in late May or early June. It includes two-week breaks in October and the spring, in addition to the regular winter break in late December and early January.

McCoy said a modified calendar has several benefits. It would have a shorter summer break, lasting seven weeks instead of 10. That has academic advantages, he said, because returning students would spend less time reviewing the previous year's lessons.

That plan would have the fall semester end before the winter holidays not in January, as it does now.

"That reduces stress in students because that time becomes a true break, rather than having students study over the holidays," McCoy said.

Those additional breaks also would allow schools to focus that time on at-risk students. Lastly, starting a month earlier gives schools more time to prepare for the high school exit exam, AP tests and other important testing dates, district officials said.

McCoy said the district isn't leaning in any particular direction at this time.

"We'll look at all the research before deciding," he said. "We want to make data-driven decisions."

Public input will be sought in the coming months. Even if a decision is made to change the calendar, it is too early to know when those changes might begin, McCoy said.

"You have to give people ample time to make adjustments to summer plans or to coordinate day care," he said. "We would not consider changes without being able to communicate it months in advance."

Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.