Things are still not finalized, as far as anybody not working on Clark Street knows, but the CPS schedule plan for 2013-2014 school year is leaking out. This was posted on the Raise Your Hand Facebook Page:
Hi everyone! I went to the CPS-Calendar meeting yesterday. I thought it was a productive meeting. Clearly, some groundwork had been laid at previous meetings that I was not at- this was my first Calendar meeting. I thought there was a very open & honest dialogue and that everyone was made to feel comfortable about voicing opinions. I learned a lot while listening to the dialogue and wish I would have known about the South Side Focus Group so I could have learned more earlier. There were 2 parents, 1 FACE who is also a parent, 3 teachers, Karen Lewis, & 4 people from CPS (Cheatham, Howard, Russell, Moriarty (lawyer)). BOE wants to approve 2013-14 calendar in Jan. b/c that’s “what the parents want”. 3 parent focus groups, 2 principal focus groups, a CPS focus group, Ed teams, and parent & teacher surveys were all conducted. The survey results were distributed to us- both from online and focus groups. To try to make a long story short, the survey revealed that a majority of respondents favored an August start date. It also appeared that most parents & students favored a calendar like Track R & (looking at the results right now) most teachers preferred something like Track E. Many of us agreed that the survey questions were confusing- specifically the questions about the possible intersessions. It would have been helpful to have a visual calendar for people to look at to see what that meant and to compare. The teachers at this meeting did a good job of explaining why they preferred the calendar with intersessions. But, with intersessions, the school year itself is stretched out which didn’t jive with parent concerns of childcare/programming offered during the intersession time. Also, with intersessions, we’d be starting early (Aug) and ending in late June. Turns out CPS had drafted a couple of calendars on paper so now we had a visual to really get down to work. Based on the survey & our own discussion, we worked with the draft that has Monday, August 26 as the start day for students. Teachers would start on Wednesday, August 21, but that depends on the ironing out of the PD time- teachers could start on Aug 19. When we left today, this is what the calendar looked like month to month, starting in September. Sept: Labor Day off; Oct: Columbus Day off, Oct. 31 end of Quarter 1; November: November 1 PD Day, no students, Veteran’s Day off, November 12 Parent Conferences, Thanksgiving Break is now 3 days- off Wed, Th, F; Dec: 2 week Break starts Mon, Dec 23 and continues through Jan. 3; Jan: MLKJr Day off, Q2 ends Jan. 23, PD Day Jan. 24; Feb: Lincoln’s Bday off; March: Q3 ends 3/27, PD Day March 28; April: Parent Conferences April 7, Spring Break April 14 – 18; May: Memorial Day off; June: Last Day for Students is June 10. Not sure what last day is for teachers due to PD still being figured out- there are 3 “flexible” PD days. I think it’s either 6/11 or 6/12. Total days of student attendance is 178. Spring Break will now always be the 3rd week in April. I will be on & off Facebook all weekend and would be happy to answer questions or address comments you might have in relation to yesterday’s meeting. :)
I’ve never been a big fan of going back to a sweltering school in early August and that fear at least seems to be alleviated. I’m not sure I like Summer Vacation being cut short after such a tiring school year with the longer day, but I also wonder what is really gained just by moving the school year earlier? Last time they tried this, attendance was horrible. Is there less learning loss if the students start in August than September?
“The commission held series of public meetings before issuing its preliminary report. Byrd-Bennett told CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine she’ll hold another series of public meetings across the city to get public feedback about individual schools before making any final decisions.”
School managers promote teams as empowering for teachers; according to management, they give teachers a say in how their schools are run. In reality, these meetings highlight how little control teachers have over their time and workload at lean schools. Morning meetings can be particularly miserable, as teachers desperate for preparation time are forced to sit through an agenda focused on management concerns. In fact, the apparent purpose of teacher teams is to shift administrative workload onto teachers.”
“Anyone who cares about public education should care about the D. C. cheating scandal, but there’s a special hook for parents and teachers in Chicago. In a federal complaint filed against the D.C. government, former D. C. principal Adell Cothorne identifies Josh Edelman as one of two people she called after seeing teachers apparently erasing answers on student standardized tests. A spokesman for Edelman says he “never heard from Ms. Cothorne about these specific cheating allegations.” The wording of that phrase “these specific” sounds like kissing kin to Bill Clinton’s infamous testimony to the grand jury “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. Edelman may have a chance to explain in court.”