Archive for the ‘Calendars’ Category

State rep cautions Cobb board: “I do not want my colleagues in Atlanta telling us how to educate our children and run our board.”

Cobb House member David Wilkerson (State Legislature)

Cobb House member David Wilkerson (State Legislature)

State Rep. David Wilkerson, D-Austell, shared an e-mail that he sent to the Cobb County Board of Education.

With his permission, I am posting it here:

Dear Board Members,

Good evening. I have had the opportunity to interact with each of you in one way or another over the last several years.  Several months ago, I made a decision to stay out of the recent calendar issue.  However, at this point I am concerned as a parent, a taxpayer, and a legislator.

I am concerned because my children attend our Cobb schools and this continued bickering does nothing for academic achievement from what I can see.  I am concerned because the Legislature has already shown a willingness to try and solve local issues when local boards have the appearance of not being able to solve their own challenges. I do not want my colleagues in Atlanta telling us how to educate our children and run our board.

We have a great opportunity with the hiring …

Continue reading State rep cautions Cobb board: “I do not want my colleagues in Atlanta telling us how to educate our children and run our board.” »

Cobb calendar wars flare up: It is time to just a pick a starting date and stick to it?

I am not sure how parents in Cobb County are supposed to plan their lives with this continued uncertainty about the school calendar.

I’ve been fascinated to watch the Cobb calendar battles as my system adopted the same “balanced” calendar and my twins go back this year Aug. 2. But Decatur is not changing back, and there doesn’t seem to be any momentum to do so among parents.

Full disclosure: I don’t like the Aug. 2 starting date. No profound reason except it cuts short the summer, and I am not a fan of the September and February breaks. But I have adapted. In Decatur, the more contentious issue now is the starting time of classes at the high school, where some parents are petitioning for a later first bell, reflective of the research that teens do better when schools begins later in the morning.

Cobb kids would have gone back with Decatur but the school board, under the influence of newly elected members, junked Cobb’s three year commitment to a balanced calendar halfway …

Continue reading Cobb calendar wars flare up: It is time to just a pick a starting date and stick to it? »

State board allows storm-ravaged counties to reduce school year

As expected, the state Board of Education released storm-affected districts from fulfilling the mandated number of school days this year.

Have these districts all finished their state-mandated testing –  CRCT and End of Course Tests? (DOE just responded: Systems were not exempted from state testing.)

From DOE:

The State Board of Education today unanimously approved State School Superintendent John Barge’s recommendation to grant requests from five local school systems to waive the required number of instructional days as a result of the violent storms that swept through Georgia last week.  Dade, Floyd, Meriwether, Spalding, and Walker County School Systems suffered severe damage to several school buildings during the April 27 storms that have forced them to use up their allotted emergency days.

At a special called meeting today, the board voted to allow these five systems to waive the 180 school-day equivalent so that they will not be required to make up these lost …

Continue reading State board allows storm-ravaged counties to reduce school year »

Will Cobb board revisit longer summer and its calendar switch?

Last month’s surprising vote by the Cobb Board of Education to dump the balanced calendar after less than a year and return to a traditional calendar may not be the last word in the county’s calendar wars. The school calendar may be discussed at today’s school board work session.

Will Cobb students have a longer or shorter summer this year? (AP Images)

Will Cobb students have a longer or shorter summer this year? (AP Images)

A balanced calendar is a shorter summer with more breaks during the year. My system is also on a balanced calendar, and we go back this year on Aug. 1. Like Cobb, we had week-long breaks in the early fall and last month. Cobb was in the first of three-year trial with its balanced calendar when the school board abandoned the model.

Not all board members were in agreement. And there are some unhappy parents as well.

Board member David Banks has asked for the balanced calendar to be reconsidered.  “I asked for a ‘Discussion to rescind the Calendar vote made at the Feb. 17th Board meeting’ be put on the March 9 Board Work Session …

Continue reading Will Cobb board revisit longer summer and its calendar switch? »

Pre-k stays full-day, but with fewer days. Fair compromise?

 Gov. Nathan Deal reversed course today by returning to full-day pre-k. (AJC file)

Gov. Nathan Deal reversed course today by returning to full-day pre-k. (AJC file)

The pre-k lobby is stronger than I thought. Gov. Nathan Deal just reversed his plan to cut the pre-kindergarten program from full-time to part-time, a decision that affected the 84,000 kids in the program and had some parents planning to resort to all-day child care instead.

The governor’s original plan also created despair among early childhood educators, who felt that quality pre-k was critical to Georgia’s aspirations to improve its education system.

“From day one we have worked tirelessly to make sure Georgia’s youngest scholars continue to benefit from the Pre-K program,” said Deal. “It is so important that we keep Georgia Pre-K a priority in order to ensure that students are school ready and on pace to read on grade level by third grade.”

Under Deal’s new plan:

  • The school year will be shortened from 180 to 160 days.
  • Class size will be increased to 22 students from …

Continue reading Pre-k stays full-day, but with fewer days. Fair compromise? »

Rockdale reports near average attendance during snow makeup week

Rockdale held school last week to make up for the January snow days, and attendance was near normal. (AJC photo)

Rockdale held school last week to make up for the January snow days, and attendance was near normal. (AJC photo)

Rockdale was one of the few counties that canceled its winter break last week to make up for the five snow days in January, a decision that irked parents and teachers who had vacation plans already in place. However, the Rockdale Citizen is reporting that attendance of students and teachers was close to normal for the week.

My own system chose not to make up all the snow days. It preserved last week’s winter break because of families and teachers with travel plans. I was one of the parents with plans, but would have canceled them and sent my twins to school. But I didn’t have large deposits at stake, which was not true for teachers and families with non-refundable airline tickets, cruise reservations or rooms at Disney hotels.

On the Citizen web site, a few Rockdale parents complained that their children’s teachers were absent so students watched movies in classes. …

Continue reading Rockdale reports near average attendance during snow makeup week »

Cobb axes balanced calendar. Did system move too fast?

The Cobb board nixed the system's Aug. 1 starting date Thursday night, returning to a mid August start. (AP Image)

The Cobb board nixed the system's Aug. 1 starting date Thursday night, returning to a mid August start. (AP Image)

Unpacked the car, put in the first load of wash and patted the dog  Now, it is time to catch up on all the news that occurred in my five-day absence — due to my school system’s adoption of a balanced calendar that shortens the summer and imposes week-long breaks in September and February on top of the holiday and spring breaks.

Cobb was on the same schedule — until a lively school board meeting last night.

Looks like Cobb acted with lightening speed to revert back to the “traditional” school calendar.  And upset some parents in the process.

Without addressing the merits of the vote, I confess to surprise that any school board would move this quickly after less than a year with the so-called balanced calendar. I thought this would be one of those study committee things that took at least three months to come to a final vote.

But according to the AJC, Cobb will …

Continue reading Cobb axes balanced calendar. Did system move too fast? »

Cobb reconsiders its balanced calendar and shorter summer

Cobb will reconsider its balanced calendar that brings kids back to school in early August. (AP Images.)

Cobb will reconsider its balanced calendar, which brings kids back to school in early August. (AP Images.)

The reason I am on vacation this week is because my children are out of school due to the new Decatur “balanced” calendar, which has students back in class Aug. 1 and out of school for a week in September, in February and in April.

I don’t care for the schedule, which was apparently put in place not to boost student achievement, for which the research is dubious, but to recruit teachers. The conventional wisdom is that teachers like the shorter summers and frequent breaks throughout the year. (A close teacher pal hates the schedule as she can’t attend a standing family reunion in August, and she says the week-long breaks get the students off focus, but I assume she is the exception.)

While this calendar does not work well for me, I am resigned to it.

Not so in Cobb where some parents continue to oppose the adoption of a similar calendar there. One mom sent me a note …

Continue reading Cobb reconsiders its balanced calendar and shorter summer »

Rockdale students to board: Restore our winter break

Rockdale's decision to cancel its February break to make up for snow days has upset students, teachers and parents. But is there another viable choice?

Rockdale's decision to cancel its February break to make up for snow days has upset students, teachers and parents. But is there another viable choice?

Rockdale County students have started a petition to restore their winter break, which the school board eliminated Thursday in a 5-2 vote. The board voted to use the week to make up the January snow days. The timing of the vote — only three weeks before the break was scheduled — has upset families who have plane tickers and plans.

“I have personally started a petition with a few of my classmates to regain our Winter Break. We are near 300 signatures in approximately 24 hours, however it is urgent we receive many more. The majority of students, parents and RCPS employees feel the decision was unjust and unnecessary,” said Rockdale 10th grader Mark Meyers in an e-mail to the AJC.

Not sure what the petition will do if the system has to make up the days. It doesn’t seem educationally sound to put the days at the end of the year, …

Continue reading Rockdale students to board: Restore our winter break »

Saturday school for teachers: Snow job or good idea?

Why is Barrow summoning teachers to school on a Saturday to make up a snow day, but not students?  Brant Sanderlin bsanderlin@ajc.com

Why is Barrow summoning teachers to school on a Saturday to make up a snow day, but not students? Brant Sanderlin bsanderlin@ajc.com

A reader sent me this note: I work for Barrow County Schools, and we found out this week that we will be required to report to school (teachers only) on a Saturday to make up for time missed due to the snow. I wanted to know if you have ever heard of this before? I do not really mind coming in that day, but I do worry about our new superintendent setting such a precedent without ever seeking the teacher’s input.

I have never heard of this before, and wonder how teachers feel about it? Barrow plans to bring students back to school on three days that they were scheduled to be off, Feb. 18 and 21 and March 11.  But because Friday, 11th, was supposed to be a teacher work day devoted to report cards, teachers will also have to show up on Saturday, March 12.

There certainly is a hodgepodge of plans by local systems to make up the days lost to …

Continue reading Saturday school for teachers: Snow job or good idea? »