Wednesday, September 14, 2011

THE EARLY START CALENDAR: On again/Off again/On again, Off again. …or not!

smf: If the two stories below seem to be conflicted or conflicting, you should’ve seen the Board of Ed meeting! (I think that Connie Llanos has it right – but stay tuned!)

Schools will start 3 weeks earlier next fall

By Connie Llanos Staff Writer | LA Daily News |


LAUSD Early Start Calendar Delayed Again

The LAUSD calendar school year will remain the same for at least one more year

By Reanna Delgadillo | KNBC New |

09/14/2011 01:00:00 AM PDT - Despite concerns about additional costs during tough financial times, all Los Angeles Unified schools will start class three weeks earlier next fall, district officials decided Tuesday.

A divided school board voted to move forward with the implementation of an "early start" calendar districtwide for the 2012-13 school year, meaning all schools will start classes in mid-August and end by early June.

Superintendent John Deasy had pushed for an indefinite delay in starting the new calendar over concerns about the one-time cost between $2-4 million.

Deasy said while his financial concerns remain, he supports the new calendar from an instructional viewpoint, saying it has shown tremendous academic results for students, especially in secondary school.

"There will be a one-time cost but we will own and bear it ... we'll make it work," Deasy said.

Much of the cost comes from having to pay employees for holidays they were previously not eligible for and to continue providing extended summer and winter programs to students with special needs.

The costs are only incurred in the first year of the new schedule though.

Currently some 18 LAUSD schools are on the "early start" calendar, which mimics the college calendar and is more closely aligned with testing for students taking Advanced Placement courses. The calendar allows the first semester of school to be completed before students leave on winter break.

Last Winter, the school board voted 6-1 to move all LAUSD campuses to the early start schedule by 2011-12 but then postponed the change for a year because of budget cuts.

Some parents opposed the earlier calendar because it places students in school during some of the hottest days of the summer, and conflicted with summer camp and vacation plans.

Board members Richard Vladovic and Bennett Kayser opposed the new calendar, wanting more time to discuss the issue. Vladovic asked to have a study done to prove the academic benefits of the calendar swap before moving forward, but his motion failed.

School board member Steve Zimmer also asked that a waiver be available for schools who did not want to participate, but that motion also failed.


 LAUSD Early Start Calendar Delayed Again

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Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011  |  Updated 7:06 AM PDT - An early start calendar for the LAUSD school year was originally planned for 2011-12. It's been pushed back and pushed back and now pushed back again.

The early start calendar that would affect thousands of Los Angeles Unified School District students has been delayed again.

The school year would have students beginning their first day of classes in August. This is much earlier than the traditional first day of school being the day after Labor Day.

The proposal would have gone into effect for the 2012-13 school year. It has now been pushed back, possibly to 2013-14, depending on a school board vote.

This is not the first time the new calendar has been delayed. It was originally planned for the current 2011-12 school year. Yet it was met with some frustration on the part of both teachers and parents.

Those against the calendar believed it would interfere with vacation plans and would force students to start school during the hot summer months.

According to the memo sent to LAUSD board members from Superintendent John Deasy, he recommended to delay to start due to "continuing uncertainty of state and federal budgets and its impact on the district's short and long term fiscal planning."

Members of the Unified Teachers Los Angeles, the teachers' union, said they were upset about the calendar since there was not much dialogue with the education community.

"The early start calendar is an example of LAUSD's top-down decision making. The district and school board need to open up the process and listen to parents, teachers and the community," UTLA President Warren Fletcher said in an email statement.

"Currently, decisions are made by a handful of people. UTLA is pushing the school board to reinstate committees," Fletcher said. "We want the district to function smoothly and efficiently. Input from all stakeholders would allow it to do so."

There are 18 schools that have already started on the early start calendar.

Karen Turner, a coordinator at James Monroe High School said the first day "went very smooth."

Supporters of this new calendar believed it would help align high school with the college calendars and create better testing schedules.

"All tests are done before winter break, so students don't forget anything," Turner said.

One downside to the new calendar is that students could miss LAUSD registration if they waited to attend another school, not on early start, and were denied, Turner said.

There is a vote planned for Tuesday afternoon during the regularly scheduled board meeting, said district spokeswoman Gayle Pollard-Terry in an email.

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