The Atlanta Board of Education voted on Monday to delay a decision on the Atlanta Public Schools calendars for the next two school years.
Several community meetings have been planned in coming weeks to get public input. All of the meetings will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. as follows:
- January 22 – South Atlanta High School
- January 23 – Mays High School
- January 28 – Inman Middle School
- January 29 – Douglass High School
At the beginning of the current school year, APS began gathering data through a public survey. The school board is now looking at making a decision in March on schedules for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years.
Here's the APS Live Blog of Monday's meeting included the Superintendent's Report:
The calendar development process for 2013-14 and 2014-15 included a community-wide survey with approximately 5,900 respondents as well as analysis of student attendance data. As a result of the survey responses, the proposed calendars are consolidated calendars with August start dates. The proposed calendars have been reviewed by a diverse committee representing parents, employees and communities across the city. Feedback from this committee has been incorporated into the proposal. The proposed calendars cover the next two school years to provide advanced planning time for APS employees and families. Frequently asked questions regarding the school calendars are also attached for informational purposes.
Changes from past calendars include the consolidation of all schools to a single calendar as well as changes to the scheduling of some staff work days. For 2013-14 and 2014-15, the superintendent’s proposal provides flexibility to principals and supervisors in the scheduling of one (1) teacher work day and in the scheduling of 200-day and 220-day staff members (e.g. counselors, social workers, assistant principals) outside of the teacher work year. This will allow schools to tailor their staff schedules to best meet the needs of their students and parents.
It was recommended Monday that the board should accept the 2013-14 and 2014-15 calendars for first reading. However after a discussion, it was decided to defer the first reading until Feb. 4 and the final read to March in order for board members to participate in the upcoming community meetings.
Below is the discussion among Superintendent Erroll B. Davis and board members Cecily Harsch-Kinnane, Nancy Meister, Emmett Johnson, Courtney D. English, Brenda J. Muhammad, Reuben R. McDaniel, III, LaChandra D. Butler Burks, as well as APS Director of Policy Development and Governmental Relations Rebecca Kaye, as tweeted by the APS Twitter account @apsupdate.
Meister: I think we should defer this first read for next month so we can participate in the community meetings. I think our constituents would feel more involved with that.
Davis: I think that is feasible, but we are being subjected to criticism already for being late for those who want to plan around the new calendar. We are feeling the pressure of being late. My understanding is that, in previous years, you have approved it at this meeting. There are a lot of reasons why later can be problematic from a planning perspective.
H-Kinnane: We need to hear from the school community.
Davis: We will listen. We will come back and highlight what the concerns are and whether we agree or disagree.
E. Johnson: It looks like to me if we do the first read now that won’t stop any community input. I am puzzled why we want to delay the first read. It isn’t like we are doing the final.
English: If we move the first read to Feb., it can almost be a truncated time period. Logistically I don’t know if that would work.
McDaniel: Is this calendar a compromise between traditional and year round or is this a different approach altogether?
Rebecca Kaye, APS: We looked at if there was one calendar that would work for everyone, what would that calendar look like. We ended up with a hybrid of the best of the different calendar options we have before us. This calendar has the same number of instructional days and vacation days as we normally do, it is just structured differently. We expect to see that there will be more uniformity across the district. The proposed recommendation is much more similar to the traditional calendar we have had in the past.
Butler Burks: I am struggling with Summer learning gaps. My motion is that we ask the staff to move forward with the community input as outlined and have the first read on Feb. 4. The final read would be in March.
H-Kinnane: In past years what has been the time frame?
Kaye: The board approved the calendar for 2011-12 and 2012-13 in January of 2011.
The motion carries. The first read will take place on Feb. 4 and the final read will occur in March.
Full Live Blog coverage of Monday's meeting can be found here.
APS proposes adjusted school day start and end times for 2013-14