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    « Reflections on South Orange County Elections ... | Main | Statewide Watchdog Warns Local Governments of Close Watch on Brown Act »

    November 29, 2010

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    This is the time for the calendar to be pushed back since Labor Day is later causing CUSD to not start until September 8. An earlier start has many benefits but the biggest is that students in secondary schools (especially high schools) , get MORE time in class before national testing such as STAR and AP's. Earlier starts are a huge benefit to the students because no matter what the start date, the AP's are given on the same days nationwide. It even helps with SAT and ACT testing as students are further into their classes when they take them as juniors. Of course the parents of elementary students are usually too near sighted to understand the importance of this - it's not until THEIR kids are in high school that they figure it out. I would encourage the Board to look at the WHOLE picture and do what is best overall. Labor Day is NOT some sacred holiday that has to signal the end of summer. Wouldn't it be nice if this change could be made?

    From a strictly self centered perspective, summer months are usually cold and overcast. I'd love to see school taught through August and take advantage of those beautiful September and November days to vacation. From a practical stand point, another public school supporter makes a stronger argument.

    It’s time for the CUSD Board to consider the impact that our late start date (and the placement of furlough days, recess days and extra time off around holidays) has on the secondary school students. I’m all for time off, long weekends and the lazy, crazy days of summer, but we need to focus on putting the instructional time BEFORE the standardized tests, not after. The board needs to seriously consider making CUSD a school district that begins in August and ends in May. We will lose Labor Day to “end” the summer, but we will pick up Memorial Day to kick it off. Not an ideal tradeoff, but a realistic one. We can't control the dates of the standardized tests and we can’t afford to pay for more instructional time, but we can give our students a better chance at succeeding by providing more instructional time when it matters most.


    It’s time for the CUSD Board to consider the impact that our late start date (and the placement of furlough days, recess days and extra time off around holidays) has on the secondary school students. I’m all for time off, long weekends and the lazy, crazy days of summer, but we need to focus on putting the instructional time BEFORE the standardized tests, not after. The board needs to seriously consider making CUSD a school district that begins in August and ends in May. We will lose Labor Day to “end” the summer, but we will pick up Memorial Day to kick it off. Not an ideal tradeoff, but a realistic one. We can't control the dates of the standardized tests and we can’t afford to pay for more instructional time, but we can give our students a better chance at succeeding by providing more instructional time when it matters most.

    besides,
    It would give a three day break right after starting school for an easier transition from summer...instead of waiting until November! Actually, I would prefer year round to prevent that summer brain drain, and give time to vacation in months that aren't so darn hot, and for the older kids- visit colleges.

    Several years ago the school board started school in August for the very reasons Another Public School Supporter cited. The school board wanted to help CUSD high school students compete with a lot of the east coast schools, which started in August and had more weeks of learning before the high stakes testing. There was not a lot of objection from the public when this plan was proposed. However after the early start was implemented, parents and teachers complained.

    I personally think it is a great idea because it is based on helping our students. Hopefully if it is tried this time the high school parents won't allow the decision to be buried by the elementary parents. Besides, it also helps with the elementary and middle school API scores.

    It is important to keep in mind that parents are parents to all grade level kids. When planning family vacations, they want their kid's schedules to conform. Non aligned schedules has always been a death nail to year round schools.

    CUSD has an advantage that LA doesn't have: our schools are more modern and air-conditioned. But I've opened September classrooms in LA and Orange County to temperatures that made learning impossible. Starting in August would mean allowing teachers to set their own A/C thermostats -- no centralized, Carter-era conservation levels that put brains into comas.

    this would be a great thing for the high school students. Unless you teach that level, you don't know how disruptive all those holiday breaks are to retention and lesson planning. I say GO FOR IT!

    CUSD did start the school year in late August (before labor day) a few years ago.

    Is there any data from that year to support the idea that the extra few days of classes before labor day actually produced higher SAT, STAR, AP or any other test scores or pass rates for the high school students those years?

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