April 17, 2009
Kristin Mamrack -
Columbus Municipal School District officials are gathering input from parents and teachers on a new 11-month school calendar, proposed by CMSD Superintendent Dr. Del Phillips.
Noting consistently attending school helps students better retain what they learn and enables teachers to work an extended time with smaller groups of students, Phillips, in March, proposed an 11-month school calendar, to begin in August, for students in grades kindergarten through six.
Through surveys administered at parent-teacher conferences last week, school officials received support for the new calendar and Phillips will meet with school principals and parents regarding the proposed calendar.
"We are continuing to listen to parents and teachers and provide as much information as possible about the Success calendar," Phillips said. "Our principals surveyed parents, last week, that attended parent-teacher conference day to gather some quantitative data.
"In the next three weeks, we will have some parent meetings at the elementary (schools) to answer questions and gather more feedback. I will also speak to the teachers at each elementary (school) within the next two weeks to determine a commitment level within each (school)."
Phillips likely will make a recommendation to the CMSD board of trustees during their May 11 board meeting.
Regarding the new calendar, Phillips proposed students attend regular classes for 181 days of the year and 22 days be designated as "Success Academy" days, when students testing at minimum or basic proficiency levels are required to attend for "small, concentrated" classes for "intense remediation."
Students testing at proficient or advanced levels would not be required to attend school on the Success Academy days, but enrichment programs and activities, often expanding on the CMSD Magnet School themes, would be available for those who did attend.
Following the new calendar, which Phillips said would save parents on daycare costs, means teachers and students are off the entire month of July.
Under the proposal, teachers working additional days would be paid by stipend.
Parent meetings will be held April 20 at 6 p.m. at Sale Elementary International Studies Magnet School, April 21 at 8 a.m. at Fairview Elementary Aerospace and Science Magnet School, April 21 at 12:30 p.m. at Franklin Elementary Medical Sciences and Wellness Magnet School and April 30 at 6 p.m. at Cook Elementary Fine Arts Magnet School.