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Big Changes Proposed for District 308 Calendar

Plus changes to parent/teacher conferences, institute days and early dismissals days.

The 2013-14 Oswego District 308 school year calendar may be seeing some big changes, including start date, semester end date and teacher institute days.

“This calendar should truly reflect not only what was important to parents, teachers, administrators and the board, but the overarching goal to make sure calendar served the goal of teaching and learning in the district,” said Superintendent Matthew Wendt at the school board's Monday night meeting..  “Is it perfect? No. Is it improved? Yes?”

The tentative draft of the new calendar would have students in grades 1-12 beginning school Monday, Aug. 19, rather than in the middle of the week as it has been. Kindergarten would start that Tuesday.

Board president Bill Walsh did not like the change for school to start on a Monday. “I love middle of the week for young elementary kids. It gives them a chance to assimilate into the full day, into the rigor of the next level.”

Board vice president Alison Swanson and board member Mike Scaramuzzi both supported the earlier start day.

The earlier date falls in line with the semester ending at winter break, which would begin Monday, Dec. 23. In previous calendars the semester ended in the second week of January.

School will also end sooner than previously, with the final day in the tentative calendar being Thursday, May 22, the week before Memorial Day.

The other large changes revolve around teacher institute days, early dismissal days and parent/teacher conferences.

Wendt explained that all teacher institute days fall at the very beginning or end of the semester, rather than in the middle. For the second semester students would return to school on Tuesday, Jan. 7, with that Monday being a teacher institute day to prepare for classes.

Early dismissal days have been eliminated completely, save for days during teacher conferences and the last day of first semester/second quarter.

“We have decided that not very many people are all that pleased with how the traditional parent/teacher conference day is set up,” said Wendt. “We are trying to build some flexible time into the calendar for faculty to … strengthen their relationship with the parents.”

The proposed changes for parent/teacher conferences would involve one day of full-day student attendance each semester where teachers could have parents in for conferences during free periods or after or before school as needed.

The other parent/teacher conferences would be early dismissal days, with one day hosting conferences between 4:00 p.m. and 8 p.m. for parents that could not make it to the school during the day.

Swanson suggested that the district even consider for the junior highs and high schools that all teachers gather in one location and parents could visit each teacher for a few minutes without having to schedule a rigid block of time.

Wendt said the idea could be considered.

The calendar would have a total of 175 student attendance days, which adheres to state requirements, said Wendt. The last two calendars have also had 175 days.

“We believe it’s an improved product for our vision,” said Wendt.

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