Calendar survey seeks public input

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With news of Noblesville Schools adopting a balanced calendar for next school year on Oct. 23, Westfield Washington Schools is seeking to inform and gather input from the public on potential a calendar change. Superintendent Mark Keen said the school board just adopted a school calendar for 2013-2014 and the district is now seeking input for the 2014-2015 school calendar.

“Normally, we adopt the calendar on a two-year cycle. However, there were numerous questions about the balanced calendar in our last survey, so we decided to let patrons view some balanced calendar proposals and offer feedback to determine how much interest there is in that type of school calendar,” he wrote on his superintendent’s blog.

The district has developed three 2014-2015 calendars, which are available to view at www.wws.k12.in.us/file/3840/view. The options include a traditional trimester (replication of the adopted 2013-2014 calendar), and semester and trimester versions of the balanced calendar. A short calendar survey is open now to Nov. 20 for feedback.

Keen provided four points he asks resident to think about as they consider what’s best for the students of Westfield Washington Schools:

■ Most school districts divide the school year into semesters, so they want to end the semester at Winter Break which forces them to start school in late July when using a balanced calendar. Since we operate on trimesters, this is not an issue for us.

■ The original intent of a balanced calendar was to use the two-week break for remediation for those students who need a little more help. Unfortunately, that has not been done in many districts, and we would not do so here.

■ Summer learning loss reaches its peak at six weeks off from school. Balanced calendars still have around eight weeks off, which does not reduce the impact of summer learning loss. However, we have developed a wonderful program, Summer R.O.C.K.S., that helps alleviate summer learning loss, so this is also not an issue for us.

■ There are benefits to having breaks of two weeks to refresh and still not be away from school too long for learning loss to set in. This is a benefit to both students and staff.

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