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Sunday, January 21, 2024

My letter to the school board about the calendar change


I was wondering if the administration and school board knew how disrespectful they were to staff and even parents when they changed the last four days of the school year from half days to full days with scant input and then released the news through Facebook. This has gone over like a lead balloon with staff, and I know because, unlike the district, I spoke with teachers.

Making a big change without allowing staff input tells staff you don't appreciate or respect them. I read the district's self-serving announcement, which said it included teachers. That's laughable because there are only five teachers out of 45 members on the calendar committee. How does that include teachers, especially since I know, at the very least, the middle school representative voiced concerns? The bottom line is teachers were ignored, which goes straight back to not appreciating or respecting them.

I understand that some parents, especially in elementary school, were concerned about child care, and where I am sympathetic, schools are not daycares, and parents need to be parents. Also, if those last four days are a concern, parents will be in for a huge wake-up over the next ten weeks when there is no school. If those last four days are a concern, are you getting rid of early release days? Or is it just days when teachers can get the voluminous amount of paperwork done that needs to be cut? A way to fix this problem instead of blowing up the calendar was to start now by reminding parents and then canceling extended day programs that last week. 

Let's talk about that last week. That last week will not in any way lead to increased test scores. There won't be much meaningful instruction; discipline will be poor, attendance may improve marginally, and that mountain of paperwork teachers must do at the end of the year will have to be pushed back The longest week of the year just got exponentially longer.  

We will never be the district we can be as long as the administration and school board treat staff like they are easily replaceable cogs whose feelings and thoughts don't matter. Never and why you would make such a huge change so late in the year without consulting those who are directly affected is beyond me. I want you all to do better. 

I would urge you to reconsider your decision at least until you get staff input. That is the respectful thing to do. That is what leadership looks like.

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