Monday, January 27, 2014

2014-2015 School Calendar Proposal

As some of you may or may not know, legislation was passed last year that allows schools to count 1080 hours instead of 180 days as the time needed for a school year. This gives districts flexibility to meet the needs of its students.  With that being said we have worked with a committee of teachers, administrators, and parents to develop a proposed school calendar for next year that is similar, but slightly different than the past few years' calendars. 

Similarities include:
  • Early start date with semester ending prior to winter break
  • Some full days for professional development
  • Full week of spring break
  • End date in mid May

Basically the calendar is the same in regards to the number of days, but the major difference being proposed is weekly professional development time for teachers. Many schools in the metro area including, West Des Moines, Des Moines, Johnston, Ankeny, Norwalk, and Carlisle either have a weekly late start or early out to provide time for professional development. In our proposal, the school day would start at 8:15 and end at 3:30 Monday through Thursday. Friday would start at 8:15 but dismissal for students would be at 1:30 p.m. Teachers would use this time after students are dismissed until 3:30 p.m. to meet professional development responsibilities outlined by the state, district, and their individual and team plans. Time is valuable and research indicates this added PD time will improve instruction and student learning.

We know the challenges this may cause for families and this was considered when developing the calendar.  Other communities have found ways to make the time needed to improve the quality of instruction by providing weekly PD for teachers work, so it is believed that our community can as well.

The calendar has been shared with staff, the school board, and the VMEPC.  Most of the feedback has been positive, but as with any change, challenges have been presented and we will do our best to address those concerns.  Our School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) will review the calendar in early February. Board members will have time to listen to patrons between now and February 17 when they will decide whether to approve the calendar or not at the monthly  meeting.

Linked is the proposed calendar and a letter with more information for you to consider.  As with anything, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Thanks for taking the time to review the linked documents.


Proposed Calendar

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