School calendar proposals nudge toward 4-day week

A 2020-21 draft calendar for Holyoke School District Re-1J will come back with revisions in a more aggressive move toward a four-day week.

Superintendent Kyle Stumpf presented what he called a sixth draft calendar at the Monday, March 23, school board meeting. Following extensive discussion, revisions will be made for consideration at the April 7 meeting.

In his draft calendar proposal, Stumpf highlighted the full-week break at Thanksgiving, as well as no school on Friday of regional wrestling and state swimming, as well as the following Monday for President’s Day for a four-day break.

Christmas break would still be two weeks, and there would continue to be a one-week spring break.

Parent-teacher conferences would have a change in format. Instead of two evening sessions each semester, conferences would be scheduled from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Thursdays, Oct. 22, and March 11, with no school for staff or students the next day.

Switching up from this year’s late-start Mondays, the proposed draft included early-release Fridays two times a month. Students would be released early, and staff would have professional development time.

Stumpf said this Friday plan would give more direct time with staff than the late-start Monday schedule afforded. Teachers had expressed a desire for more time to get together.

With six other Monday or Friday full-day inservice days, the calendar draft  included 155-160 student days and 170-175 teacher days, which Stumpf said is in line with other districts.

Shared leadership groups had looked at the draft, and Stumpf said there was some disappointment that there wasn’t more of a four-day week look.

Board member Justin Clayton said, “I view this schedule as moving sideways, not ahead, to recruit and retain teachers. How does this set us apart from other districts?”

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