Here's what it looks like:
- Next year, school begins for us on August 12, 2015, and will end before Memorial Day on May 26, 2016.
Actually, no so crazy after all. Here's why:
- No summer is lost - it just moves three weeks earlier
- The semester ends before Winter Break - a natural break for instructional purposes, as opposed to dragging finals into January after a long vacation
- School will end with a holiday weekend - providing vacation opportunities for families and staff that don't cost the district dollars in lost ADA for absent students or substitute costs for absent teachers when a three-day weekend is extended into four
- Three extra weeks to prepare students for AP (Advanced Placement) exams that occur the first 2 to 3 weeks in May - more in line with east coast schools
- Three extra weeks to prepare students for the SBAC (Common Core) standardized tests
- Less downtime after AP exams - students, rather than having six weeks after the culminating, high-stakes course exam, will take the AP exam, follow that up with the teacher's course final, and then call it a year - fully taking advantage of all instructional minutes
Once we decided as a school community to make the calendar change, we also just went for it in terms of implementation ... we are making the change to the calendar in one summer. This means we will end this school year in mid-June and begin the following school year in early August. Ouch!
In the end, however, I see it simply as ripping off a Band-Aid quickly in just one strong yank - it only hurts for an instant and then its over. Ultimately, this is a much better solution than making the change gradually by phasing it in over several years, one week at a time. Personally, I'd rather have only one short summer than three.
Regardless the logistics of the implementation, as a teacher I'm excited about the instructional potential.
Is this something we want in Los Al?
I don't know, but I will argue it's worth a discussion - there's no harm in that!