Monday, June 21, 2010

Resolution to Change First Day of School, September 2010

UPDATE: Chancellor Klein ultimately decided to leave the first day of school as Wednesday, September 8th. Thursday and Friday will be school holidays and school will resume on Monday, September 13th.

I've heard from hundreds of parents who want to move the first day of school in September from Wednesday, September 8th 2010 to the following Monday. As it stands, we start school Wednesday and then have a four day weekend. There is an email campaign to the Chancellor but he has yet to respond or even acknowledge the issue. Unless we hear from the DOE, I will introduce the resolution below at tomorrow's PEP meeting:

Resolution Regarding the First Day of School, September 2010
Patrick J. Sullivan, Manhattan Member, Panel for Educational Policy
June 21st, 2010

Whereas the current school calendar school begins on Wednesday, September 8th and is followed by two days of school closures before resuming on Monday, September 13th and

Whereas many public school families make arrangements to secure childcare for their children during the summer and may face financial or logistical hardships to terminate this care and arrange for care outside of the single, midweek school day and

Whereas young children, especially entering Kindergartners, will be confused by the single day creating a more difficult transition and

Whereas the mayor and chancellor have cited absenteeism as a significant problem and recently launched a dedicated task force to combat it and

Whereas a single school day followed by a four day weekend is likely to result in higher rate of absences and

Whereas the high rate of absences will likely necessitate the complete repetition of Wednesday’s orientation and lesson materials when students return on the following Monday and

Whereas this schedule was developed without input from the community the schools are designed to serve and

Whereas the calendar contains a number of professional development and chancellor's special holidays (e.g. "Brooklyn-Queens Day") that would be more obvious and appropriate days to hold instruction, therefore let it be

Resolved, the Panel for Educational Policy calls upon the chancellor to closely scrutinize the public school calendar and seek ways to shift the first day of school to Monday, September 13th, 2010.


Under Assault said...

Thank you for this. I think you covered all bases.

Anonymous said...

In 2 days of school kids could receive nearly 14 hours of important instruction. They could practice critical classroom routines that will set them up for success for the entire year.

How about starting the school earlier so kids won't miss out on learning.

Hmmmm, I wonder who else benefits from 2 extra days off...

Anonymous said...

With budgets tight, what is the point of opening school for one day? Start the following week. My child, like many others, will be reading each day and doing some school work and his TV and computer time will be monitored. I don't feel like it's crucial for him to have one more day or 14 more hours of instruction. In addition, he'll be having fun with friends and grandparents; as well as enjoying playing outside. When did school become the be-all and end-all of a kid's world?

Anonymous said...

And, Anon. 1:12, what is the point of having a full day of "instruction" for students in high school on Friday, June 25th after all Regents Exams, Final Exams, and after grades have already been completed? More foolishness from Klein and Co.
But they are businessmen, everthing they say must be right! Just like BP!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:12, if hundreds of parents have expressed concern, isn't that valid enough for you? There are no "two extra days off"- it is a 2 day Jewish holiday which is observed by students and teachers. If the first day of school is moved back to Monday, teachers will undoubtedly still have to report on the previous Wednesday, which will allow us to have seven additional hours for preparing our classrooms for the students, which will benefit them. ;)How about we give parents a little extra time with their kids? As a parent myself, I know I'd appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Districts in the suburbs are starting on the 13th for students, but teachers come in for Superintendent's days on the 1st, 7th, and 8th. 11 and 12 month employees work on the 2nd and 3rd as well. Seems reasonable. Having the kids in for one day then off for four--remember the holidays--is ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

the schools system r crazy we have to fight for children yes they r right about starting school middle of the week is crazy lots of no show that first week of school to many day ot of school for the year

Anonymous said...

I recall when teachers had three days to prepare for incoming classes, to insure that the room provided a safe and nurturing place for students. Those days included hours of sweating in non-air conditioned classrooms putting up bulletin boards, moving furniture, unpacking boxes etc. This has not changed. In addition there were numerous hours of PD, planning with team members, meeting with administration guidance counselors etc. Those extra hours avoided the need to hire subs and break up classes once the school year began.

Now teachers barely have enough time to make their rooms presentable with constant PD as soon as they step back into their schools. Elementary school teachers bear the brunt of classroom setup fatigue (sorry middle and high school colleagues) but it is true. These teachers have been know to go in as much as 3 days early jut to be sure the their classroom is ready. One day to set up and have PD borders on insanity. Students need continuity and consistency. For them to come in on Wed. and then return again on Monday does not appear to be educationally sound particularly for the early childhood students who need a permanence in their schedules

Critics need to acknowledge that parents are a part of the education system and take responsibility. Teachers cannot always be at fault. A day without children is not a day off. It is an additional day to guarantee your children will be welcomed into their home away from with all the tools and PD necessary to start the school year.

Anonymous said...

Right. On that first day, teachers could hand out grading policies and course overviews, and try to get to know a few of the students and familiarize themselves a bit with the classes. Then, by the following Monday, that first day will have been largely for naught, almost completely forgotten and in need of a total redo. It also makes schools, teachers, counselors, administrators, etc., look silly in the eyes of students -- right off the bat. Great job! Well did!