Should Langley School District students go to school year round?
All the options will be on the table as the Langley School District looks at revamping school calendars.
Any changes would not come into effect before the 2014/15 school year.
Changes in provincial legislation allow districts more options for modifying the calendar.
Langley’s school board has scheduled a public open house to start to gather opinions. It’s 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29, right before the regular school board meeting.
"I’m very pleased to have this opportunity to engage our community in an educational dialogue about students, their learning and achievement," said superintendent Suzanne Hoffman. "We invite our parents, guardians, students and staff to join us in this exciting discussion about what we might consider doing differently in order to positively impact the lives of Langley children."
Throughout February, the public can answer a district survey. The online site will be available starting Feb. 1.
The district will look at keeping its existing calendar or switching to one of two year-round schooling options – a three-week winter break and three week spring break, or year round.
Regardless of which calendar is chosen, students must have 186 days in the classroom during the school year.
The district had surveyed the community on calendars in 2011. Of the 2,718 people who voted, 76.6 per cent favoured the two-week spring break and an extra day off in November.
The 2012 survey had 671 respondents and a 66.2 per cent vote in favour of the longer spring break and extra day off in November.
Examples of each calendar option are on the district website www.sd35.bc.ca/sd35calendar.
Any additional questions or feedback about the calendar options may be sent via email to email@example.com and join the conversation on Twitter #sd35calendar.
Calendar Dialogue Background
Over the past two years, following public consultations which revealed strong support for an extended break in March, the Langley School District has implemented a two week Spring Break. The results of our previous surveys are as follows:
Spring 2011 Varied Calendar Consultation
Are you in favour of a two week Spring Break and an extra day in November?
Yes 2,082 76.6%
No 569 20.9%
Neutral 67 2.5%
Spring 2012 Varied Calendar Consultation
Are you in favour of a two week Spring Break and an extra day in November?
Yes 444 66.2%
No 204 30.4%
Neutral 23 3.4%
This year, due to new provincial legislation, our School District community is able to consider additional changes. We have an opportunity to have an educational conversation within our community about what calendar is best for Langley students. We invite our parents, guardians, students and staff to join us in this exciting discussion about options we believe have the potential to improve the success of students of all abilities and grade levels across the Langley School District.
District is seeking input in the consideration of three possible school calendars, one representing our current model and two representing more balanced options:
Option #1: Status Quo – The same format we have currently in our District with a two week Spring Break.
Option #2: Three week Winter Break combined with a three week Spring Break
Option #3: Year-round school calendar
(Examples of each calendar are available for viewing on our website at www.sd35.bc.ca/sd35calendar)
*Note: Regardless of which of the options are ultimately selected, staff will recommend Option #1 Status Quo calendar to be in place for the 2013-2014 school year. This allows adequate time for implementation of any new calendar formats. Final approval of the District’s three-year calendar will be made by the Board of Education at the Regular Meeting of March 12, 2013.
Ministry of Education Links
Bill 36 – School Amendment Act 2012: http://www.leg.bc.ca/39th4th/1st_read/gov36-1.htm
New School Calendar Regulation: http://www.bcedplan.ca/assets/pdf/school_calendar_regulation.pdf
1. Why initiate the calendar conversation?
• Presents an opportunity to have an educational conversation within our community about what is best for Langley Students
• Presents an opportunity to explore improving student achievement results
• Care & concern for all students in our District
• News legislation makes this discussion possible
2. Why a three year calendar plan?
• Our school communities have told us they prefer advanced notice for school breaks to allow for long term planning of family schedules in the years ahead.
3. What is a more balanced calendar?
• Instead of 10 weeks away from school during the summer, classes and vacation periods are scheduled throughout the year
• Students still follow the same curriculum and are provided with the same educational programs
4. Does a more balanced calendar mean fewer days of instruction?
• Regardless of the calendar option implemented, the school year will consist of 186 days in session including 6 non-instructional days.
5. What are the advantages of a more balanced calendar?
Though this isn’t to be as empirical evidence, we know from other Districts who have implemented more balanced calendars that they result in:
• More opportunities for remediation and enrichment
• Opportunities to improve student achievement through intersession programs during scheduled breaks
• Parents, students and teachers report that students are learning more
• Summer learning loss may be reduced especially for vulnerable students
• Decreased time spent reviewing material and establishing routines, especially in September
• Students are in more continuous learning mode
• Improved student attendance
• Increased continuity of instruction
• Decreased instructional time lost before breaks
• Reduced drop-out rates at the secondary level have been documented
• Increased stability of the learning environment
• Reduced vandalism because the building is occupied during more days in the year with intersession times
6. What is an "intersession" and what happens during that time?
• An intersession takes place during a period when students are on a school break. Typically one week in length, intersession times could be used for remedial activities, enrichment courses, recreational programs, clubs or other activities typically found during the summer in traditional calendar schools. Imagine if a student received an extra week of school during the course of their education. Going into grade 9 they would have an extra 8 months of school!
7. How many intersession periods would there be and when would they take place?
• The District anticipates that intersessions could be scheduled three times each year, during each of the summer, winter and spring breaks.
8. Is a more balanced calendar possible in a semester school?
• A more balanced calendar in District semester schools would be possible with a later semester one end date in February.
9. Will the District’s current career programs be maintained on a more balanced calendar?
• Yes, District career programs would be maintained following the implementation of a more balanced calendar.
10. How would a more balanced calendar affect grade 12 transition to post-secondary?
• No adverse effects on post-secondary transition are expected
• Currently most secondary schools provide students with an early acceptance notice months ahead of time
• Provincial exams may currently be written at various times throughout the year
11. How would a more balanced calendar affect grad ceremonies?
• Within a more balanced calendar, school graduation ceremonies would continue to take place at alternate times
12. How would a more balanced calendar affect Christmas concerts?
• Holiday performances would continue under a more balanced calendar and could simply be scheduled at earlier times.
13. How would a more balanced calendar affect students who rely upon summer employment?
• Work for students is available all year round. Under either of the more balanced calendar options, the same number of break weeks would be available for students to seek work as there are under the current calendar.
14. How would a more balanced calendar affect my daycare options?
• The District anticipates that daycare providers would adjust to a more balanced calendar in order to offset reduced demand in the summer and take advantage of the changing demand for their services during the extended breaks throughout the year.
15. How would the District deal with conflicts with other District’s athletic schedules?
• Following the implementation of a more balanced calendar, there would be some adjustments that would need to be explored as the District worked with our athletic directors to adapt our programs and schedules.
16. With school in session during the summer months, would air conditioning be required?
• The District would review the need for any air conditioning following the implementation of a balanced calendar.
17. Would a more balanced calendar increase instructional costs for the School District?
• The per-student instructional costs to the District should remain approximately the same since the students receive the same number of days of instruction as they would on a traditional calendar.
18. How will it be possible to keep the schools clean on a year-round basis compared to a regular school year where major repairs and deep cleaning are accomplished in the summer?
• Equivalent housekeeping during the year can be maintained. The same amount of time is available throughout the year it will simply be a matter of shifting the District’s cleaning and maintenance cycles.
19. Would changes be implemented in all schools District-wide?
• Though the District would prefer to implement any calendar changes within all elementary, middle and secondary schools simultaneously, the District is open to the idea of engaging in a dialogue with any school communities who feel strongly about implementing a more balanced calendar.
20. What other school districts have implemented more balanced calendars?
• Langley School District #35 – Douglas Park Community School
• Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District #42 – Kanaka Creek Elementary
• Cariboo-Chilcotin School District #27 – Glendale Elementary
• Richmond School District #38 - Garden City Elementary, Spul’u’kwuks Elementary
• Toronto District School Board – Roberta Bondar Public School
21. What evidence is there that a more balanced calendar is an educational advantage?
• Please see our website for a list of resources at www.sd35.bc.ca/sd35calendar