Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Survey for the 2010-11 school calendar

DeKalb County School System has posted two draft calendars–one for 2010-11 and one for 2011-12. Visit this link and then click to take the survey regarding the calendars by close of business Thursday, October 22, 2009.

From the DCSS Website -

The proposed calendars:
  • Include 180 student-contact days - the maximum number funded by the state
  • Include 189 teacher-contract days with the final day (Day 190) being comprised of four (2 hrs. each/2 per semester) conference nights during the year as scheduled by each local school
  • Include nine teacher workdays - three of which are dedicated to professional development to facilitate the meeting of requirements for annual professional learning
  • Closely mirror the calendars of some of our largest neighboring school districts
  • Take into account state-designated testing windows and dates
  • Conclude the First Semester before the Winter Break in December - which prevents students from returning from the break with Final Exams and End of Course Tests still ahead of them
  • Offer some form of break for students and teachers each month of the year (September - May)
  • Schedule a spring break during the first week in April, beginning on a Sunday. This spring break is scheduled in accordance with those of surrounding school systems
  • End the second semester prior to Memorial Day - which allows the district to offer a short break to both students and teachers prior to the start of summer school


Anonymous said...

I think it looks like a lot of work went into the calendar. I like the fact that they are seeking community buy-in in addition to those within the school system. Overall I agreed with the two calendars, but wish that in the future the school system would consider ending the year in June and starting the new school year after Labor Day.

themommy said...

I disagree. This calendar is basically exactly the same calendar as the last few years. There is one big exception. Georgia has a law that allows up to 5 snow/weather/gas shortage days in a school district NOT to be made up as long as a school district ends the year on a Friday.

Both versions of the calendar end on a Wednesday. You can almost guarantee that we will miss at least one day of year (not necessarily for snow). Families will plan vacations based on the published end date and then be missed up. I can think of another major school system in GA that doesn't end on a Friday.

I think starting on August 9th was bad, but August 8th is horrific. It is so hot in August and usually much cooler the first week or two in August.

In 2011, the school system could easily start the following week and still complete the semester before winter break.

Paula Caldarella said...

This looks like the same calendar DCSS follows now. When did this "obsession" with ending before Memorial Day start?

themommy said...

Before we give the committee that much credit, it looks like they simply copied City of Atlanta's calendar...


Look at the two proposed calendars for Fulton.


No Duh said...

I'd rather the short week be at the beginning of the year -- start on Wed. Aug. 11 and end on May 27, but I had never heard of the GA law themommy mentioned.

My reasoning is that by ending on a Wed., you might as well have ended on the Friday before. Nothing will get done/taught in schools on the Mon and Tues before the last day of school.

We have already missed a day (flooding) this year. But, can't make it up because we end on Friday. I think we should make the days up that we miss.

When I was a kid, I remember always having to wait until the end of the year before we knew exactly when school would be over -- due to never knowing which days would need to be made up. There is no reason why families can't wait to start their vacations until Saturday.

Paula Caldarella said...

Ah, I missed that about ending school on Wednesday - just looking at the holidays. That does not make much sense to me.

Momfirst said...

I realize we should somewhat resemble surrounding school districts but when is someone going to strike out and change things!?!?! It's hot as anything in August and not in May. The fuel and air conditioning costs have got to be killer in August. Even just a week or two would be fabulous - starting the 2nd week of August is crazy!!
Anonymous 554a - they aren't really asking for community buy-in just want to be able to say that they put it out there. If they really wanted community buy-in they would've offered options like a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

The rationale for having a semester end before the holiday break is that it "improves test scores."

Oh, please. Still waiting to see evidence of that.

On the other hand, folks in the east, where they start after Labor day and end in June outperform Georgia over and over again.


Anonymous said...

I would like to see the student instruction days increased to about 200 per year. I realize that this costs more money, but frankly, the kids need more education, not less. 2.5 months of summer break results in kids forgetting a significant proportion of what they learned the previous year and several weeks catching up the subsequent year. If that is not an option, then perhaps DCSS can lengthen the school day by 1 hour.

I agree that there is no reason why school cannot end after Memorial Day and beginning after Labor Day, but again, I would prioritize increasing the number of days per year regardless of when school begins (August vs. September).

The DCSS website states that there are 180 student contact days because this is how much state funding they receive. I'm confused: I thought that the majority of our property tax dollars were going to the schools? Also, does anyone know where we can find the DCSS budget for this year and previous years? I'd like to see the budget for my children's school - Kingsley and the other schools overall. I'd also like to see the source of all funds for the whole school system.

momofthree said...

i agree that there is little new in the proposed schedules. Staring back in early August means that the students are in schools, riding (un-airconditioned) buses in what is generally the hottest time of the summer. I would strongly prefer we start later in August (or after Labor Day) and get out mid-June. I think the suggestion to start with a short week is spot-on. After have a 10+ week vacation, it is grueling for all to come beck to 5 days of a school schedule and riding the bus in the blistering afternoon heat. Allow time in the first few days to really focus on getting the administrative details out of the themway, have some getting to know you time, work with the kids on some practical organizational and life skills for the year.

Is it really necessary to end the semester before Christmas? Why not give students and teachers a break, come back and review and have them take the exams/EOC. There are too many holidays in the winter semester which are often increased by weather days. For weeks before Spring Break, everything is about the CRCT because right after spring break, the kids take the CRCT and then everyone is just chomping for the year to be done in 4 weeks. Have the CRCT review begin after spring break (when they are rested) and the have the test the 1st weeks in May.

I have family all over the country and they are amazed at how many holidays our school system has and the early start and end dates for the school year.

Shayna said...

My two biggest on-going issues with the calendar are (1) I think we eat up an enormous amount of money in energy costs by starting in the heat of August that could be saved by starting in September and this would also help with all of those foliks who show up just assuming that we start after Labor Day like the rest of the Country and (2) I don't understand why we have to have Spring Break in April if we're going to dismiss before Memorial Day -- if we're not going to go into June, Spring Break needs to be more in the middle -- March not April -- the time between "post Spring Break" and the end of the school year is always insane because too much is packed in.

Ilana Danneman said...

Why are we still on the same schedule that was implemented 50 years ago? Why are our kids starting school mid summer and ending school in the spring? It is toooo hot to be in school in August. I'd like to see a schedule that works from Sept-June.

JustJayme said...

I grew up in the Southwest and we always started the day (Tuesday) after Labor Day and ended the first Wednesday in June. I thought it was a great schedule because you were always able to plan for the year. As a Senior you even knew what day you were graduating on.

Oh well, we'll see what happens. I do thing August 8th/9th is too early though.