When would graduation ceremonies be held? How will students be able to attend classes in portables with no air conditioning in July and August? How will summer school be handled for kids who have to make up courses?
Langley School District staff overseeing the first public house on proposed calendar changes were peppered with lots of questions Tuesday evening.
The district is looking at three options - no changes, a balanced calendar (a shorter summer but longer breaks at other times of year), and year-round schooling.
"There is no predetermined result in mind," superintendent Suzanne Hoffman said at the board meeting right after the open house.
She said the purpose is to hear back from the commnity.
"Is there an appetite for change?" she said.
Langley is one of many school districts that are looking at calendar revisions since the provincial government changed education law (Bill 36). Staff told people attending that the process started with public consultation to see what the community wants, not because there has been a community groundswell demanding change.
Hoffman said if the overwhelming response from the community is that the calendar should not change, the district will honour that.
The goal is to make the calendar work best educationally for students.
"What does two months off in the summer really mean for kids' educations and educational loss?" Hoffman pondered.
For each calendar, students would be in class 186 days each year.
In addition to gathering input from the public, the school district will also consult with others.
"We've had very preliminary talks with the City and the Township," Hoffman said.
Some of the open house attendants wanted to know how a balanced calendar or year-round calendar would impact recreation and community programs.
"The weather is something we've had feedback on," she added.
Under provincial law, any calendar changes must be made by the end of March but the local school district is on spring break in late March, so the board wants to make any decisions at its March 12 board meeting.
Before then the district is accepting feedback on possible calendar changes. There is an online survey during February and the district is meeting with stakeholder gropus like unions and PACs.
People can also post comments or questions via Twitter or by emailing sd35calendar@sd35. bc.ca.
The district will also be approaching high schools to obtain feedback from secondary students.
All the feedback will be collated and assembled into a report by a consultant hired by the district.
School districts on the North Shore and Coquitlam are seeking input.
Trustee Cecelia Reekie asked if staff could also look into what other districts are doing about their calendars.
The Sea to Sky School District opted not to look at changes because the timeline for this year was too short. Okanagan Skaha School District trustees said they could not change the calendar because their teacher contract lays out work from September to June.
Abbotsford is looking at four long breaks during the year and an earlier start to the school year.
The Langley district website has masses of information on the proposals as well as documents from education experts on different types of school calendar configurations.
. More at www.langleyadvance.com
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