2019-2020 School Calendar Update
We sincerely appreciate the number of responses and the great feedback we received on the school calendar survey that was e-mailed out to all parents/guardians a few weeks ago. We received 77 elementary parent responses, 38 middle school parent responses, and 50 high school parent responses. The results indicated the following:
-The majority of parents (85%) prefer school to start either the week before or the week after Labor Day.
-The majority of parents (64%) prefer school to end either the week before or the week after Memorial Day. 28% preferred the first week of June.
-The majority of parents also preferred more and longer vacations, such as two week winter breaks and a week long spring break over starting after Labor Day and ending before Memorial Day.
-The majority of parents (63%) were for more PIR(professional development) training days for staff in which students would either release early or be gone the full day for the professional development training. 22% were neutral on the subject.
-An overwhelming majority of parents (68%) preferred spring break to be coordinated with Easter weekend.
-On the “what is most important to you question,” the majority of parents chose an average number of vacations days, with either an earlier start/earlier end or later start/later end of school to achieve that goal.
The parent survey results were paired with staff survey results and taken back to the staff calendar team to draft some calendar options in an attempt to meet some of the parental and staff preferences. The team also considered state requirements for minutes as well as providing our students the best opportunity to learn the curriculum and have educational success. The staff then voted on these calendar options to narrow down a final option to be presented to the school board for approval at the March 13th board meeting.
There was quite a bit of feedback to start school after Labor Day and end school before Memorial Day as well as have more vacation days. However, schools are held to an accreditation standard requirement of minutes each year to ensure that all the curriculum is covered. The accreditation standards are put forth by the state. So we “can’t have our cake and eat it too,” (so to speak) without significantly lengthening the school day to meet the minute standards. Although significantly lengthening the day could be a future option, it also presents potential issues as well and is why most schools don’t go this route. There is a point of diminishing returns the longer the day goes in regards to attention span and motivation, especially for younger students. In addition, longer days, mean later extra-curricular practices and later returns to home. These are just some of the reasons schools prefer more days as opposed to significantly longer days.
That said, the calendar team did create a calendar option that lengthened the school day slightly to try to come up with a calendar that balanced the requests of parents and staff and could still meet the educational needs of students. This option would add approximately 10-15 minutes to the school day to be able to do a few less overall school days and still meet the state requirements, but more importantly still meet the educational needs of the students. This calendar option is the option that will be presented to the board for review and is the option that is attached as a picture on this update.
Thanks again for the excellent feedback and to all who participated in the school calendar survey.