Message from the SuperintendentWe have facilitated four late starts since the beginning of the school year in connection with the district’s literacy initiative. As you all know from previous articles in district newsletters, the teaching staff and administration have been working diligently with Dr. Bonnie Houck to implement new research-based best practices in PreK-12 literacy instruction.
The time afforded to our teaching staff as a result of these late starts has been extremely valuable. It has allowed increased collaboration and the opportunity to learn more about critical instructional practices that will improve student achievement and increase test scores on multiple assessments, both state and local.
During late starts the entire teaching staff is split into two groups: the elementary teachers (PreK-6), and the secondary teachers (7-12). Dr. Houck, along with other teacher leaders in the district, facilitate professional development opportunities that are specifically focused for the elementary group and the secondary group.
We are currently at a time when leaders in each group are assessing the effectiveness of the training. It is vitally important that we evaluate this initiative on multiple fronts. We want to track the implementation of these strategies in the classroom and make adjustments based on feedback from our teaching staff.
Later on in the school year I will provide you more information regarding this all-important initiative that is designed to improve student achievement in many academic areas.
We are in the beginning stages of planning the 2020-21 school calendar. Our calendar committee will begin meeting in January.
One major problem we have is that Labor Day is on Sept. 7 next year. This creates interesting challenges for the calendar committee due to how late the school year would start. I have asked our legislators to pass a law that will allow school districts to start before Labor Day next school year.
While it will take time to see what response comes from the Legislature as a whole, the district must move forward in developing its school calendar. It is very possible that the calendar committee will create two versions of the 2020-21 school year. One version would have school begin Tuesday, Sept. 8, and another version would have school start the week before Labor Day. It is very possible that the calendar committee will recommend both versions to the school board for approval no later than March of 2020 in order to cover both possibilities.
If the Legislature passes a law early in its session that allows school districts to start before Labor Day, however, the calendar committee could simply present one version of the calendar to the school board. I will keep you all posted as our process continues, and as we await Legislative action.
In closing, I would like to wish the entire Delano Public Schools community happy holidays!
Matthew W. Schoen, Ed.S. Superintendent