The Park City School Board discussed next year’s school calendar in Tuesday’s meeting. They received feedback from the public along with the Park City Education Association representative. Carolyn Murray has this:
The Calendar Committee arrived at two options for next year. Each option presents small changes to this year’s calendar. School Board Member Erin Grady said the committee was made up of district administration, district staff and members of the education association. She said the survey results supports the B version over the A-version.
“Right now, it looks like starting two days earlier than we would have this year. We lose one day over our UEA or fall break. So, just having that Friday off. The B version gives us two full weeks at Christmastime, as opposed to just coming back on that Thursday and here just that Thursday and half a day Friday. And, then the B version takes us into early June where the A version would have gotten us out right around Memorial Day weekend."
PCEA representative Ben Kahn told the school board his group is concerned about calendar changes being made without more notice to teachers. Member JJ Ehlers said families often plan events a year out and she supports giving more lead time to stakeholders who are impacted by things like semester ending dates, length of breaks and first and last day of school.
Superintendent Jill Gildea said they must make slight adjustments to the calendar each year to reach the state requirement of 180 days of school. She said concurrent enrollment at UVU, sports and health of the students defined the calendar options.
“We just look at where are those natural breaks. Where do the semesters fall. The idea for this, obviously, is when you have concurrent enrollment classes for your high school kids, they’re matching a UVU calendar and they have responsibilities for that content whether or not they’re in school. The athletic system begins earlier across the whole state, so our kids are actually competing before they’re actually students for the year. So that’s really interesting. But the bigger driver is really the mental health and wellness of taking an actual break in your semester before you leave for the holidays and coming back for a week or two and then having exams.”
Student School Board Representative Steven Mitchell asked the board to consider that some students want the Christmas break for preparation to take final semester exams in January. He asked if students would have a chance to weigh in on the decision. Gildea pointed out that college and universities have students taking exams before they go on break.
“When you look at Universities, they have you end before you leave for break. They do have you take all of your exams before you leave especially if you’re dealing with pretty high intensity content as our kids are. But, yes, we will look at a parameters survey sometime after the new year. So, that will be a broad-based community stakeholders survey. So, that will include parents, students, staff and we’ll try to set some of those expectations. You know, when you start, the preference for a one-and-a-half or two-week winter break. So, we’ll try to gather that feedback s we do future planning then."
Member Grady said the discussion of school calendars will be back on the agenda in early January.
“So, is there some talk that maybe we do extend, give people more than a year?”
“Yes, absolutely, we definitely heard that loud and clear last night. It’s definitely board direction to move forward that way. There has been a little bit of talk too about maybe keeping the calendar exactly, or very similar to the way it fell this year. That would be the third option but over all, they’re all within a few days of each other…so…”
If interested in seeing the school calendar options, go to pcschools.us under school board, meetings, agenda, board docs.