All the sticky notes, online survey answers, emails, tweets and Facebook posts are being assembled into a report to show Langley School District trustees what the community thinks about year-round schooling.
The district is looking at amending its calendar to either a more balanced school year (with longer breaks and a shorter summer holiday) or year-round schooling.
To obtain feedback on the three options being examined, the district set up several methods for people to use.
The district has said that if the public is against changes, it would retain the existing calendar with the long summer break.
"We're really completely wide open with the dialogue," explained district communications manager Sandy Wakeling.
A second open house, held Feb. 12, was scheduled after some felt there was not enough public notice about the first open house Jan. 29.
While attendance numbers at the second event were lower, there were still plenty of people with questions and comments on Tuesday evening.
Josh Smallwood, a Grade 9 student at Langley Secondary, said most students aren't even aware that big changes are being discussed for the school calendar.
"Most don't know," he commented. "I've heard it mentioned once or twice by teachers."
His father asked him about the three proposals which prompted a discussion within the family and a trip to the second of two public open houses.
Smallwood doesn't think option 3 (year-round schooling) would work but could see the possibilities of a more balanced calendar (option 2) with longer breaks other than summer and time off during summer.
"It's not a bad idea," he said of option 2.
The student said year-round schooling would be a tough sell to students during the heat of summer. Smallwood is also skeptical about students in school in the middle of summer, recalling how uncomfortable H.D. Stafford Middle School was during the hot days of spring.
"It got really hot at Stafford," he noted.
Senior staff were on hand at the open house to field questions and show people how to provide feedback through the various methods (online survey, written submissions, etc.).
There were no lack of questions ranging from how do Langley students get into post secondary if schooling is year-round, cooling schools in summer, integrating new calendars with family work and extracurricular schedules, and more.
The school board will receive all the public input and make a decision on whether to move to a different school calendar at its March 12 public board meeting.
The opportunities for public feedback end at the end of February. The materials gathered will be tabulated and collated into a report for the school trustees.
Wakeling said the district has received a "couple hundred emails" and a similar amount of social media postings, and "well over a couple thousand survey submissions so far."
He noted that the schools have had or will still be holding meetings with their parent advisory councils. A list of meetings is going to be posted to the district website, along with lots of other information on the calendar issue. Go to www.sd35.bc.ca.
The surveys and other forms of feedback will show the board the dominant public sentiment but Wakeling noted that the opinions people are submitting are not a referendum. The final decision about whether to change a calendar rests with the board of trustees.
Langley has garnered quite a bit of attention over its calendar discussions likely because this district made up possible calendars where other districts are discussing theoretical changes.
As well, Langley has provided a variety of ways for the community to provide feedback, more than other districts.
"I think there are other districts eagerly anticipating our outcome," Wakeling said.
@ Copyright 2013