NEW 2012-2013 Calendar? Early Release Wednesdays?

Walter Woods strikes again!

DeKalb School Watch and the DSW editors are signed up for K-12 Alerts, but did not receive an “alert” about this.  Why pay for and advertise something like K-12 Alerts if it is not going to be used?

The information in quotes/italics, below, was provided by one of DSW’s readers.  Because of the incredibly short time for comments, we are publishing this while trying to find out more information.  Check back for updates.  Meanwhile, please take a minute to look at this link:  http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/calendar/proposed.html

You must give your comments by this Thursday, April 12, 2012.

“The Board had already approved a calendar for our next school year, 2012-2013.   But,  Superintendent Atkinson had asked a new calendar be drawn up.  Previously Atkinson’s comments were that our county should be on a “balanced” calendar.  That is not what the committee has proposed here.

“These new proposed calendars have varying start dates and weeks off.  Option A would shorten this summer to 9 weeks down from current at 11 weeks, with a start date of August 1st. Also, please note Atkinson is planning an early release each Wednesday by one hour.  There are two other options, Option C is the same as the already Board-approved calendar.

“IMPORTANT UPDATE:  The Spring Break in Option C is a full week earlier than other Atlanta Metro counties.  So if this is the final calendar, it may cause a logistical nightmare for some parents — especially for those who teach in other metro counties or have children in pre-school or private school in other metro counties.  Usually pre-school and private school calendars have Spring Break at the same time as the public schools in the county where the pre-schools/private schools are located. Option A and Option B calendars have Spring Break the same week as other counties.

“In addition to giving your feedback online, contact DeKalb County Schools at 678.676.1200 and let them know how you feel about this change, the one-hour early release on Wednesdays and Superintendent Atkinson’s apparent choice of starting point of transforming our schools.  To my mind, there were SO MANY other places to start.”

DCSD Survey for 2012-2013 School Calendar

Per Dr. Atkinson’s request, the Division of Curriculum and Instruction convened a group of stakeholders to explore school calendar options for next year. The Calendar Committee includes parents, teachers, principals, district office staff, and community partners. Below is a link to the DCSD website that contains the three (3) proposed 2012-2013 school calendars for review and a link to the survey.  The survey allows respondents to identify their stakeholder role, select their preferred calendar choice, and provide comments through Thursday, April 12, 2012.

Go to  http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/calendar/proposed.html to obtain more information regarding the calendar options and to access the survey.

If we could afford to, we could just give up our paying jobs and work full-time informing the public about the goings-on at DeKalb County Schools.  Oh, wait.  Walter Woods is already paid to do that as his full-time job.

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122 Responses to NEW 2012-2013 Calendar? Early Release Wednesdays?

  1. Researcher says:

    Several points:
    1) Why is she doing this for the 2012-2013 calendar which has already been approved? Why not start her ideas for 2013-2014. We have already made plans around next year’s calendar. Why throw additional uncertainty and angst into the process?
    2) What is the point of the early release Wednesdays which is in all 3 options? There should have been some sort of explanation about its purpose. I cannot see the benefit of it, but I can see a lot of after-school childcare schedules thrown into confusion to satisfy that one day’s early release.
    3) I personally can’t stand Option A with the “balanced” calendar. Who really wants to go back to school Aug. 1 with teachers having to return the last week in July!!! I’ve felt fortunate to not live in Decatur with their school calendar. It ends up causing conflict with the rest of the country who still considers August part of summer. Our kids missed two school days last August when my sister-in-law planned a wedding in Seattle for the middle of August. Of course, she didn’t realize it would cause conflicts with school schedules.

  2. Mother of Three says:

    Excellent point on the K12 Alert. I have posed the question to Mr. Woods to see what he has to say on the topic.

  3. Former Teacher says:

    I believe the early release days are to provide time for professional development.

  4. NOTE REPORTER CHANGE: DeKalb School Watch received this request for parent comments about Superintendent Atkinson’s proposed new calendar from Matt Pearl at WXIA. If you are willing to comment, please contact him directly at mpearl@wxia.gannett.com or 404.545.5129.

  5. Around the Water Cooler says:

    Why the shortened day on every Wednesday? I’m sure it’s “professional development” which is DCSS-speak for longer faculty meetings. I have to wonder how this might impact families and their schedules.

    K-12 Alerts = Fail!

  6. DekalbMom says:

    An hour every Wednesday for teacher development makes no sense from a cost-benefit point of view. The disruption it will cause for child-care scheduling is not worth one hour of development each week. It would be better to schedule a longer block of time every 4-8 weeks on a FRIDAY or a MONDAY for teacher development than to make this a weekly issue. And, I suspect that hour could easily be wasted….

  7. IMPORTANT CALENDAR UPDATE: The Spring Break in Calendar Option C is a full week earlier than other Atlanta Metro counties. So if this is the final calendar, it may cause a logistical nightmare for some parents — especially for those who teach in other metro counties or have children in pre-school or private school in other metro counties. Usually pre-school and private school calendars have Spring Break at the same time as the public schools in the county where the pre-schools/private schools are located. Option A and Option B calendars have Spring Break the same week as other counties.

  8. KPatilla says:

    Please note the Spring Break option for B & C are the same – one week earlier then the rest of the metro counties. Only Option A is the same as other counties.

  9. So Done says:

    Am I missing something regarding Spring Break? As I read the calendars, Option A has Spring Break for April 8-12, and Options B and C have it for April 1-6.

    It is pure madness to put Spring Break out of synch with the other schoool districts.

  10. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Apparently, when the board met last night, they was no mention of this issue. They didn’t know it was going out to parents, schools.

    Yes, where is that k12 alert???? Still waiting. I called Woods, he’s in a meeting. I am sure he will call me back.

    Why did I have to receive this via my PTA? There are so many parens who aren’t in the know that won’t be heard. Everyone, please make it your business to send an email to anyone on your contact list that might have a child in DCSD or anyone who has an interest in DCSD for whatever reason, they are stakeholders too. Let them know about the calendar changes and the hour early release.

    Please make sure you include the calendar link, the link to the current approved calendar and useful info like the DCSD phone number. This is important.

  11. bettyandveronica1 says:

    No you are correct. Option C is a week earlier than current board approved calendar. This creates the option of spring break at the same time as other school systems?, then go a week or two weeks earlier. If you want Option C, then spring break will be out of sync. This is a lose-lose. Yes, some folks like the option A it resembles Decatur City and folks there have gotten used to it and seem to like it.

    But why bother dealing with this issue at all? Isn’t there anything else to do? Shouldn’t she spend her time fixing other issues, building credibility with the community before starting to change calendars.

  12. We are getting a lot of conflicting information here, folks, regarding public school Spring Break for 2012-2013.

    It would be nice if Walter Woods would just do his job for a change.

    Since Walter won’t — and because K-12 Alerts is mute — could someone out there please take a minute to put together a confirmed list of 2012-2013 Spring Break dates for the Atlanta Metro public school systems: Atlanta Public Schools, Decatur City Schools, Buford City Schools, Fulton County Schools, Cobb County Schools, Gwinnett Public Schools, Clayton County Schools, and Rockdale County Schools. Send it to dekalbschoolwatch@gmail.com — or post it here in the comments.

    Thank you!

  13. justwatch says:

    Great comments about who will see this survey. My child’s elementary school still hasn’t sent it out. There is no clear link to the survey on the system homepage either.

    While it may be worth discussing calendar changes, it isn’t appropriate or right to change a published/approved calender this late in the game.

  14. Julie says:

    Where is the information explaining each of these proposals? Where is the information explaining the early release on Wednesdays, why it is important, and how it will impact our children’s education?

  15. dishatlanta says:

    Peachtree Middle sent it out yesterday. I wonder how they found it.

  16. Poster says:

    I did receive notice of this in the email account I used for getting K-12 Alerts. I just signed up for it yesterday. Maybe you need to sign up again if you signed up a while ago? I haven’t looked at them yet…I’m afraid to? Luckily my child will be a senior next year and then buh-bye DCSC!!!!

  17. Researcher says:

    Actually, this is not quite correct. The Spring Break for Options C and B are April 1-5, which is the same as the following Dekalb private schools: Cliff Valley, St. Pius X, the Children’s School, and Paideia (maybe more as well, but I didn’t check). Also, Fulton County Schools have April 1-5. However, Option A and Gwinnett Co. Schools and City of Atlanta Public Schools have spring break scheduled for April 8-12. There seems to be less consensus next year across schools/school systems for Spring Break than usual.

    Also, even though the start date (Aug. 13) and the end date (May 29) are the same for both Option C and the currently approved calendar for next year, the spring breaks are different. As noted, Option C has a spring break of April 1-5, whereas the currently approved calendar has spring break scheduled for April 8-12.

  18. Poster says:

    Oops….sorry!! I just opened the email and saw it came from my child’s school, not DCSD. (and above, meant to say buh-bye DCSD!!) I thought K-12 alerts were to let us know of emergencies, intruder alerts, weather issues, etc., not things like calendar choices?

  19. Poster says:

    I just looked through the options. Here is a synopsis as far as I can tell:
    August:
    Start Date:
    A – 8/1
    B – 8/6
    C – 8/13

    September:
    Same for all 3

    October:
    A – Whole Week off – 10/8-10/12 Mon-Fri
    B – 2 days off – Fri 10/5 & Mon 10/8
    C – 1 day off – Mon 10/8

    November:
    Same for all 3

    December:
    A – Winter break starts Tue 12/18
    B – Winter break starts Thu 12/20
    C – Winter break starts Fri 12/21

    January:
    A – Back to School on Thu 1/3
    B – Back to School on Tue 1/8
    C – Back to School on Tue 1/8

    February:
    A – Whole Week off – 2/18-2/22 Mon-Fri
    B – 2 days off – Fri 2/15 & Mon 2/18
    C – 1 day off – Mon 2/18

    March:
    Same for all 3

    April:
    A – Spring Break 4/8-4/12
    B – Spring Break 4/1-4/5
    C – Spring Break 4/1-4/5

    May:
    A – Last Day of School Wed 5/29 (have to come back for 2 days after Memorial Day)
    B – Last Day of School Fri 5/24 (Friday before Memorial Day)
    C – Last Day of School Wed 5/29 (have to come back for 2 days after Memorial Day)

    In my opinion, I would vote for Option B or C. Both have a later start date. Coming back August 1st and having teachers have to report July 25th??? Way too early. In terms of child care and family disruption, Option A has full weeks off in October and February. It is much easier to manage day care/babysitting for one or two days, rather than a full week. I wouldn’t get so hung up on when Spring Break is in relation to other counties. Many years, Fulton or another county has a different spring break than the rest of the metro systems. After spending a week in Florida last week with what seemed like EVERY other school in Metro Atlanta, it might be nice to have a different spring break! Plus, Dekalb has always had their spring break the first week of April (at least for the past 20 years that I’ve been involved in it). The number of people that maybe work in another system and have kids in Dekalb or vice versa has to be minimal in the grand scheme of things. To me, a later start date and not having full weeks off in October and February are key issues.

  20. lori cobbs says:

    a neighbor copiled the differences here:

    August:
    Start Date:
    A – 8/1
    B – 8/6
    C – 8/13

    September:
    Same for all 3

    October:
    A – Whole Week off – 10/8-10/12 Mon-Fri
    B – 2 days off – Fri 10/5 & Mon 10/8
    C – 1 day off – Mon 10/8

    November:
    Same for all 3

    December:
    A – Winter break starts Tue 12/18
    B – Winter break starts Thu 12/20
    C – Winter break starts Fri 12/21

    January:
    A – Back to School on Thu 1/3
    B – Back to School on Tue 1/8
    C – Back to School on Tue 1/8

    February:
    A – Whole Week off – 2/18-2/22 Mon-Fri
    B – 2 days off – Fri 2/15 & Mon 2/18
    C – 1 day off – Mon 2/18

    March:
    Same for all 3

    April:
    A – Spring Break 4/8-4/12
    B – Spring Break 4/1-4/5
    C – Spring Break 4/1-4/5

    May:
    A – Last Day of School Wed 5/29 (have to come back for 2 days after Memorial Day)
    B – Last Day of School Fri 5/24 (Friday before Memorial Day)
    C – Last Day of School Wed 5/29 (have to come back for 2 days after Memorial Day)

  21. Watching... says:

    Ok…can we presume for the moment that this is not yet a done deal and that the survey is just that.
    I just signed up for K-12 alerts, but as I signed up, the distinct impression that I got was that that system is supposed be for urgent communication of emergencies i.e. your specific school is in lock down… I don’t want it used to txt me any time someone wants “input from stakeholders”.

    I sent the info to Ty. It will get into the AJC before the input window closes Thursday–and there is no particular reason to think that that window won’t be extended a few days with all this uproar. The AJC is the best venue I know for a paragraph with a link to reach a broad audience. I would put this down to a new person not realizing the best way to get timely feedback, or how excited everyone gets at any suggestion of material change to a calcified system. BRAINSTORMING FOLKS–CAN WE please allow the new folks to brainstorm with us included without mowing everyone down at the first bad idea?

    Marney Mayo

  22. Beauregard says:

    If anybody is interested in speaking with me about their issues regarding the proposed calendars and the survey, please contact me at (404) 373-7779 ext. 108 or daniel@dekalbchamp.com. I’m working on a piece about this for The Champion Newspaper and would like your input.

  23. Julie says:

    Spring break coinciding with other school districts is only important to me as it impacts whether or not there will be camp options available. My husband is a professor and his spring break never coincides with any other local school or system. My block includes faculty and staff from five different universities and none of the spring breaks are at the same time or same time as the school. We all depend on camp and relatives.

  24. justwatch says:

    My understanding is that the metro systems were already having different breaks next year. Cobb, DeKalb, Gwinnett were all the second week of April. Fulton is the first.week.

    My issue isn’t so much about the type of calendar the system has moving forward, it is all about the timing of these changes. Families have plans already set for August.

    I also think someone needs to analyze energy costs.

  25. noduh1961 says:

    I got a “have a nice spring break” text from DCSD just before the break. I wouldn’t mind K-12 Alerts being used for parent input requests for county-wide issues of this magnitude.

    Don’t like the early start at all. Wonder if early release Wednesdays is negotiable, or if its being in every choice means it’s not negotiable.

  26. concernforthekids says:

    The reason K-12 Alert should have been utilized is because of the timeliness of the closing of the public input. The original deadline for public / stakeholder input is this Thursday, April 12th at the end of the day. Essentially 81 hours for stakeholder comment.
    The original email was sent from Kendra March’s office at 2:52:24pm (to the second) yesterday to all Principals requesting it be sent out to all their stakeholders for input. This would be a great first step in determining which schools / principals actually sent it out when instructed! Have the principal forward their notification email back to Mrs. March showing that her orders were followed.
    I’m sure a very high percentage of the principals never sent it out! (yesterday)
    More to come!

  27. dishatlanta says:

    I was also wondering about the early release on all 3 options. It would be nice if they asked the stakeholders for an opinion. I can’t decided which calendar I hate the least (feels like an election) but I do not like early release.

  28. Kelly Spral says:

    Doesn’t the one hour early release pose a problem with regards to the GA Accredition Standards?

    (For Accredited status, 9 affirmative answers are required, including standards 1 through 8.)

    The school day consists of at least six hours exclusive of lunch and break periods. (Normal class changing time will count as being part of the six hour school day. Schools may operate on shortened schedules for up to one day per grading period for teacher‑parent conferences.)

    http://www.coe.uga.edu/gac/standards/highschool.html

    Our high school is currently 8:10-3:15, which is 7:05 hours. 6:05 would be too short with a lunch break.

  29. Julie says:

    Interesting. I first heard about this yesterday on two list-servs I am part of. I guess those posters principles were on top of it, or they happened to see it on the DCSD website. I didn’t hear from my son’s school until mid-day today, and that notification came from the PTA president and not our principle (no idea if this is standard practice since we are new to the school.)

  30. Lisa says:

    My biggest concern right now is with changing the start date. I know I’m not the only one who has to firm up the summer schedule by the end of February to ensure that the kids are in camps and travel to see family gets included. By now, camps have been paid for and plane tickets purchased. In fact, if they switch to the Option 1 start date, my kids will miss 1.5 weeks of school (or I’ll pay an awful lot to change international tickets to see family.)

  31. dekalbdoyenne says:

    @ Marney Mayo aka “Watching”

    We don’t know that is is safe to assume anything where DeKalb County Schools is concerned.

    Superintendent Atkinson knew last night that she intended to change the calendar. Why didn’t it come up with the Superintendent’s Report?

    Nor can we assume that the AJC is widely read. As much as we all like Ty, the AJC is not the best venue to reach a broad audience.

    While I am the first to agree that this is, indeed, a calcified, unwieldy school system that must be divided into manageable pieces, in this case I think parents were caught by surprise with no academic or fiscal explanation for a last-minute change.

    Finally, this does not sound like “brainstorming” in any way, shape or form. It sounds like a done deal until someone mentioned to Superintendent Atkinson that parents (and teachers!) should be informed since opening day for School Year 2012-2013 is right around the corner. Many people have already made summer plans — some non-refundable. The only brainstorm was when someone suggested that parents should have the perception that they actually participated in selecting a calendar. What a charade!

    Superintendent Atkinson may be new to DeKalb County, but she is not new to school administration. Or creating school calendars.

  32. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Just checked other school districts, Fulton scheduled spring break for April 1 next year. Dekalb(current approved calendar) Gwinnett, Cobb, Decatur city all have April 8 as their scheduled start date of spring break.

    Good times!

  33. Speaking of the best way to obtain “timely feedback,” Marney — K-12 Alerts is it! This blog registered for K-12 Alerts as soon as it was announced. Whatever is disseminated via K-12 Alerts also will be published in this blog. That includes publishing one request or multiple requests for “input from stakeholders,” as well as for urgent communications.

    We also believe that businesses, taxpayers with no children in DeKalb Schools and other stakeholders should be encouraged to sign up for K-12 Alerts.

    So, if you don’t want text messages, then make the change in your K-12 Alerts profile and receive only e-mail.

    Meanwhile, come one, come all — the more the merrier!

  34. Miss Management says:

    I always view ‘non-issues’ like this that the school system knows darn well will cause all kinds of public response as red herrings…… Look past this calendar issue: What is REALLY going on that they are trying to hide. It’s the same old trick: “Quick! Look over there!” But don’t. You’ll miss the things you really should be paying attention to!

  35. Anonymous says:

    FYI – Dunwody Parent council meeting tomorrow at Peachtree Charter Middle at 9:15. Come on, come all. Even if you don’t live in Dunwoody, the meetings are open to all. Dr. Atkinson will be giving her “revisiting the state of the sytem” address, maybe we’ll get to ask a few questions after her speech. Also, the same speech will be given, next week at Sagamore, April 18th for the Emory Lavist folks.

  36. Miss Management says:

    No two systems should have the same spring break week. The mass exodus out of Atlanta is too much for the roads. I witnessed a 20 MILE back-up on I-75 last weekend due to the spring break traffic coming home from Florida! Sprinkle the tourists over several weeks so that it isn’t such a madhouse out there!

  37. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Walter did it!! Go Walter, go Walter.

  38. justwatch says:

    Did you ever talk to him? It only took all day. Good thing it wasn’t a real emergency.

  39. Sadly … too true! Or, for another analogy, we are like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football held by Lucy (DCSS). At the last minute she jerks it away and we fall on our backs. So, good point, Miss Management! What is REALLY going on that they are trying to hide?

  40. Leo says:

    I’m not sure why everyone is surprised. Dr. Atkinson indicated in a recent meeting (state of the system maybe?) that she wanted to move towards a more balanced calendar and that she believed early-release Wed would enable teachers to have more coordinated planning and training times and that she’d be releasing this. There’s was an explanation for all it. Of course, it would be better to put that information out there WITH the calendars in the survey so that people aren’t just looking at “when is spring break” but instead can think about the positives and negatives of each calendar. I don’t like going back to school August 1 — it just seems so early — but I also see how antsy my kids get between Winter Break and Spring Break (and those 1-2 days off don’t seem to help). I know several people from Decatur (and Cobb during their 1-year experiment) who really liked the more balanced calendar and how their kids adjusted to it. I’m not concerned either about day care etc. The local options always seem to adapt to the various school system calendars and they will on this one too depending on what is selected.

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