The new DeKalb school board responded this evening to parental concerns about the haste with which the district adopted a balanced calendar, which features a shorter summer and more breaks during the year.
The board voted to delay the change to a balanced calendar, which had been favored by the former superintendent.
The “balanced” calendar approved by the old school board and now reversed by the new one lopped nearly two weeks off summer break and distributed the vacation days in fall and winter.
Former Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson said the new calendar was better because students forget too much over the long summer break. Surveys showed parents opposed the idea but two-thirds of teachers liked it.
The balanced calendar is followed by neighboring Decatur Schools. Public opinion there varies on the appeal of the calendar, which benefits families with flexibility to take vacations in the fall and winter.
The academic research shows no academic advantage to balanced calendars. Decatur adopted a balanced calendar under the rationale that it would be a recruiting tool as teachers preferred it in a district survey.
From DeKalb Schools:
At its April 1 meeting, the DeKalb County Board of Education voted to delay the implementation of the district’s balanced calendar until the 2014-15 school year. With it, the Board adopted a Traditional Calendar.
The proposed Traditional Calendar developed by the Calendar Committee contains the following features:
· 180 student-contact days;
· 189 teacher-contract days with the final day (Day 190) being comprised of four (two hours each/two per semester) conference nights during the year as scheduled by each local school;
· Takes into account state-designated testing windows and dates;
· Concludes the first semester before the Winter Break in December which prevents students from returning from the break with final exams and End of Course Tests; and
· Schedules Spring Break April 7-11, 2014.
The delay of implementation of the Balanced Calendar allows the district to explore additional calendar options and obtain further input from the community.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog