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LCUSD Will Not Alter, Extend Calendar for Lost Instructional Days

An afternoon announcement from Superintendent Wendy Sinnette points out the remaining collaboration day and the half days for Open House and the last day of school will not change to make up lost instructional minutes.

will neither alter nor lengthen the 2011-12 academic calendar to make up for two full instructional days lost to last year's wind storm. 

In an announcement emailed to media Friday afternoon, Superintendent Wendy Sinnette wrote that neither the remaining collaboration day, March 15, nor the half days for Open House and the last day of school will be altered to accommodate more instruction. 

"...teachers have already adjusted their instruction during the first semester to provide for the school closure days and...first semester report cards have been issued reflecting student mastery of material planned according to first semester pacing guides,'' Sinnette wrote.

La Cañada caused by the severe windstorm on Nov. 30. At the beginning of the school year, dozens of parents packed a school board meeting . Losing two more full days, then, was sure to incite criticism. 

Friday's statement pointed out that on Wednesday district representatives met with members of the La Cañada Teachers Association during a full day of Interest Based Bargaining. All parties considered various options for making up the class time, such as using a collaboration day or one of the half days. Ultimately tt was decided that changing the calendar, given all the acitivities already set, could be too troublesome for everyone.

"Furthermore, parents have made arrangements and planned accordingly for the calendar as it currently exists; altering families’ schedules at this point in the school year could potentially prove more disruptive to their schedules,'' Sinnette wrote.

In an email following the announcement, LCUSD governing board member Andrew Blumenfeld wrote, "While I wish we could restore these days in the current calendar, I am grateful that the District pursued this conversation regardless of the ultimate outcome.

"I echo the superintendent's calls for continued community engagement as we face the challenge of incorporating meaningful professional development, while preserving instructional days for our students,'' Blumenfeld wrote.

You may read the entirety of Sinnette's statement here: 

La Cañada Unified School District Update on Restoring Lost Instructional Minutes Due to December’s Wind Storms Press Release from Superintendent, Wendy Sinnette March 2, 2012

As directed by the Governing Board, the La Canada Unified School District (LCUSD), along with the La Canada Teachers Association (LCTA), explored the possibilities of restoring instructional minutes lost during the December 1 – 2, 2011 school closures due to loss of power caused by wind storms. As the community is aware, any changes to the remaining school year calendar require a negotiated agreement between the District and LCTA. Both parties met in good faith during a full-day Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) session on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, agreeing to consider options through the negotiations process.

During the IBB process, the interests of both parties were identified and a full-slate of potential options for addressing the interests was developed. Several options were considered such as restoring a regular day of instruction on March 15, and/or the half-day on Open House, and/or the half day the last day of school, and extending the 2011-12 school year calendar. The parties strategically reviewed the impacts and benefits of every option generated.

Discussion at the bargaining table included the fact that teachers have already adjusted their instruction during the first semester to provide for the school closure days and that first semester report cards have been issued reflecting student mastery of material planned according to first semester pacing guides. Additionally, extensive planning has been completed for the March 15 Collaboration Day, and those activities will have a positive impact on subsequent classroom instruction. Furthermore, parents have made arrangements and planned accordingly for the calendar as it currently exists; altering families’ schedules at this point in the school year could potentially prove more disruptive to their schedules.

Ultimately, after carefully weighing all of the options and alternatives, it was agreed that no changes would be made to the 2011-12 instructional calendar. The March 15 day will remain a pupil free collaboration day; Open House day and the last day of school will remain half-day schedules; and the school year will not be extended.

As Superintendent. I have formed a committee to gather feedback from stakeholders regarding the impacts and structure of the 2011-12 collaboration schedule/calendar. Members of the school community are invited to share their perspectives on this topic with me and I will convey those to the committee. The committee will formulate a recommendation that will inform the LCUSD/LCTA Joint Task Force on Collaboration as well as the District’s bargaining team regarding the future structure of collaboration within the District’s school year calendar.

 

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