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Calendar Public Hearing Feb. 10

news_calendar_photoThe West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will hold a public hearing on the proposed 2014-15 school calendar on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 in the Community Room, Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines. The public hearing will take place during the board’s regular meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.

The hearing will be the time when interested individuals can express their views, both orally and in writing, on the proposed 2014-15 school year calendar, which is based on instructional hours instead of days and sets an early start date of August 20, 2014.

Please note these key features of the proposed calendar:

  • The August 20 start date accommodates all that the district wants to accomplish within the parameters of The Code of Iowa, The Iowa Administrative Code, the agreements with the WDMEA and WDMESP, and the feedback from parents and staff.  The proposed calendar is based on instructional hours.
  • The November 26 and March 13 flex days are again part of the calendar.  (There is no school for students and staff because certified staff held parent-teacher conferences after contract hours.)
  • Winter break is 10 school days.
  • Spring break is 5 school days.
  • September 15, October 13, January 19, February 20, and April 24 are designated as teacher professional development days.
  • Certified staff finish the school year before university summer courses begin.

 District Calendar Recommendation

  • First Student Day: Wednesday, August 20
  • Winter Break: December 22-January 2
  • End Semester 1: Friday, January 14 (90 days)
  • Flex Days: November 26 and March 13
  • Staff Work Days (No Students): September 15, October 13, January 19, February 20, April 24
  • Spring Break: March 16-20
  • Last Student Day: Wednesday, June 3 (90 days)

A survey listing the top four calendar options developed by the district calendar committee was open through February 6, 2014.  The survey results are summarized as follows:

A total of 3,076 responses were noted.  Seventy five percent of responses were from parents, twenty five percent were from school district employees (with most of the staff represented by teachers).

The priorities ranked most important when choosing a calendar were ending first semester at winter break and a full two week winter break.

Four calendar options were presented.

Calendar Start Date Winter Break Features End Date
1-34.3% August 13 Dec 22-Jan 2
(students)
Early out Wed,
1st semester end
Dec. 19
May 22
2-7.6% August 14 Dec 24-Jan 2
(students)
Early out Wed,
1st semester end
Dec. 23
May 22
3-37.3% August 20 Dec 22-Jan 2
(students & staff)
Early out Wed
1st semester end
Jan. 14
June 3
4-20.8% August 13 Dec 22-Jan 2
(students)
Half-day
collaboration
1st semester end
Dec. 19
May 22

Recommendations:

Our calendar committee met multiple times and has a recommendation for a calendar based on instructional hours beginning school year 2014-2015.

We recommend Calendar 3, which is based on instructional hours with an early start date of August 20, 2014, be adopted for the 2014-2015 school year and a calendar reflecting the identified priorities of survey responses and secondary students be developed for the 2015-2016 school year.

We plan to continue committee work to determine the concepts of a tentative calendar for 2015-2016 to be shared with the board before the end of the 2013-14 school year.

In the future, we would recommend that the board adopt a 2 year tentative calendar.

We will move towards a calendar with finals at winter break.  This was indicated to be a priority on surveys of community and a priority for secondary students. We have concerns about starting school August 13th for the 2014-2015 school year, as this would be too quick a change for families and our district.

 

Proposed Calendar (No. 3) Month-by-Month View