Next year’s Seattle Public Schools calendar OK’d – in 2 versions

June 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 20 Comments

Seattle Public Schools sends word that the School Board has just approved two versions of next year’s calendar – with one major difference: Version 1 includes three days with no classes because teachers are in professional-development activities; version 2 does not. Which will be used? Depends on what the state decides about those three days, which require the district to get a waiver from the mandatory 180 days of instruction. Both versions have the feature we mentioned last month – the return of a full week of mid-winter break, after a year without it. Read on for the full announcement:

The Seattle School Board on Wednesday night approved two versions of an academic calendar for the upcoming school year.

This unusual action was made because the District asked for a waiver from the mandated 180 days of instruction to allow for three days for teacher professional development. The Washington State Board of Education has not yet approved that waiver and will review the request on July 12.

The two calendars approved include:

Option A: This calendar contains professional development Waiver Days, assuming state approval.
Option B: This other calendar does not contain professional development Waiver Days, assuming a denial of the waivers.

Since the Board approved both calendars Wednesday, the District can now publish the correct version after the State Board action in July, without calling the School Board back together for a special session.

Last week the State did grant a waiver for parent-teacher conferences for the three days before Thanksgiving, which means elementary school students and K-8s will not have school the week of Thanksgiving.

Key dates for next year’s school calendar include:

First day of school: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013

Winter break: two weeks, from Dec. 23, 2013, to Jan. 3, 2014
Mid-winter break: Feb. 17-21, 2014, including the Presidents Day holiday
Spring break: April 14-18, 2014
Last day of school: yet to be determined (June 18 or 19, 2014)

The calendar also builds in four snow make-up days, including Jan. 31, 2014, May 23, 2014, and the two days after the last day of school. It’s important that families plan for students to potentially be in school during these days, and to note that the last day of school could be Monday, June 23, 2014.

20 Comments

  1. My kids loved having the school year end earlier at the expense of mid-winter break.

    Comment by SPS parent — 7:44 pm June 19, 2013 #

  2. Less than 180 days-you can’t be serious, it’s already not enough and it’s disgraceful to think that either SPS or the teachers would think they needed 3 days of professional development on the children’s time. It should be on their time and the school district should pay them for it. This year we have an 11 week summer break-ELEVEN weeks. We have got to stop living on farm time-there aren’t even any farms left for goodness sake!

    Comment by Sarah — 8:00 pm June 19, 2013 #

  3. This mid-winter break is complete BS! WTF Seattle?!

    Comment by L. — 8:11 pm June 19, 2013 #

  4. Sarah, waivers days have been in place for some time now in Seattle, so nothing new. The district pay teachers for it on teachers’ time? There is NO MONEY.

    Comment by mehud7 — 8:22 pm June 19, 2013 #

  5. Why mid-winter break?!?!? It was so nice to get out early in summer this year.

    Comment by westseattlemom — 8:24 pm June 19, 2013 #

  6. HATE mid winter break !!!

    Comment by Greatwhite — 8:25 pm June 19, 2013 #

  7. 11 weeks is frustrating – it needs to be 12. If we want summer, then let the kids work for heaven’s sake and let them have 3 months to be employable. When I was a kid, Summer began before June 10th. The 4th of July should not be the get out of school weekend.

    12 weeks would also allow for a real summer quarter – something that would be really advantageous for a lot of kids – and parents.

    Comment by curtis — 8:31 pm June 19, 2013 #

  8. Highline is looking better and better (oh, yeah, that’s where Dr.Susan Enfield went…).

    Comment by happy — 8:45 pm June 19, 2013 #

  9. For comparison, here’s the Highline calendar.
    .
    http://www.highlineschools.org/Documents/Calendars/2013-14TentativeCalendar6-17-13.pdf
    .
    While they don’t have a full-week midwinter break, school is out an hour and a half early *every single Friday* for what is described as “professional collaboration time.”

    Comment by WSB — 8:52 pm June 19, 2013 #

  10. I’m actually for year round school. My grandkids had it in Las Vegas and they loved it. After each quarter they had 3 weeks off. Personally I saw their learning at a better pace.

    Comment by coffee — 8:58 pm June 19, 2013 #

  11. I would not like the Highline schedule! Every Friday early dismissal would not agree with me! (it might with my kids of course) Many people would have to find some sort of childcare for the early dismissal on Friday.

    Comment by Bonnie — 9:27 pm June 19, 2013 #

  12. Oh, and where my niece goes in Auburn one day a week (Monday??) they have late start. Like 2 hours.

    Comment by Bonnie — 9:28 pm June 19, 2013 #

  13. A few years ago, when the state had money teachers worked more than 180 days (I think it was 187). The kids were in school 180 and the teachers worked 7 extra days with those days occurring before school began, after school was out, and a few embedded within the year. Then the state had less and less money and those days for professional development (used for learning new curriculum, teaching strategies based on the latest brain research, and other pertinent subjects) were taken away. Teachers were not happy to have to take away from the student year for waiver days, or to lose those 7 days of pay, but there is not enough money to pay teachers for extra days for those professional development events. There is not enough time in a teaching day (before and after school time is used for emailing/calling/conferencing with parents, grading/reviewing work, prepping for the day, meeting with colleagues, etc.) By the way, Sarah, I am doing some professional development on my own summertime, reading some professional development books on my own time, and bringing work home on a weekly basis during the school year. I wouldn’t mind extending our school year, then I’d get paid more, and our students wouldn’t lose as much. A year-round schedule wouldn’t be bad either, but then we’d have to pay to install air conditioning in our older schools.

    Comment by wsteacher — 11:52 pm June 19, 2013 #

  14. I would be interested in their rationale for re-instating mid-winter break…I thought they finally got it right this year by getting rid of it. SO disappointed by their waffling.

    Comment by kas — 6:15 am June 20, 2013 #

  15. The return of mid winter break was a deal with the teacher’s union (which had mixed support for the shorter break). Supposedly, just to keep things exciting for parents, they will now switch back and forth every other year between the full week and the long weekend over Presidents Day. There was good coverage on this on the Save Seattle Schools blog when the calendar was first announced. I really liked the calendar this year and am disappointed with this change.

    Comment by kayo — 6:33 am June 20, 2013 #

  16. It also looks like the week off over Thanksgiving for conferences is no longer in there. I guess those will happen during non school hours now because I don’t see any specific time allotted for those. Interesting.

    Comment by kayo — 6:36 am June 20, 2013 #

  17. Wsteacher thank you for your thoughtful post which allows for people who are not in the education field to see what happens during summer break for teachers. I know for myself everything you mentioned about keeping current in the summer and the non-student contact time is a ditto for me.
    As for Highline’s 90 minute PCT it has become a necessary part of our work in order to grow our students and ourselves as learners. Here’s a sampling of what we accomplished in my building this year: deep work in student discourse (getting students to explain their thinking more, which leads to student led discussions in all subject areas–instead of the teacher facilitating), analyzing teacher practice using the new state evaluation system, deep team planning in literacy and math, cultural parent/student panels to better understand the needs of our families and their experiences with education, and diving in to the new CCSS (common core state standards) as well as the Smarter Balance test (replacement MSP test). We did each of the above for multiple weeks throughout the school year. I know there are PDs I’m not thinking of, but I guarantee you that very little time is given for individual teacher planning and even when it is, teachers spend their time working with their team. Teacher planning is the strength of a classroom, and PCT on Friday is not 90 minutes of free planning time. Our planning either happens at home or before/after school. As an example it is not uncommon at my elementary building for almost all of our teachers to be at school by 7:30 and not leave until 5:00 or later (contracted hours are from 8:40-4:10).
    Here is the link to see how PCT is broken down. http://highlineea.org/LOA%20-%20PROF%20COLLABOARTION%20TIME.pdf

    Comment by Ferryboat — 7:19 am June 20, 2013 #

  18. most of us work long hours like that too, but without summer break. Or mid-winter break. Or spring break. And no retirement an generally no healthcare. Welcome to what most of us call “the real world”. It kinda bites.
    Teachers are underpaid, for damn sure. But so is just about anyone else. It’s disheartening all the way around.

    Comment by fj — 11:55 am June 20, 2013 #

  19. yes, but honestly, who would go into the teaching field if you had to teach year round without the designated breaks? Seriously. Give teachers the respect they deserve. I know I could never do the work they do, let alone have the patience. I am grateful for teachers and what they teach my kids. They work hard and earn their breaks. Support them.

    Comment by jeunglady — 12:53 pm June 20, 2013 #

  20. I don’t see anyone being disrespectful to any teachers in this thread. Pointing out that everyone has it tough isn’t disrespectful. It’s honest. From my perspective, teachers don’t have it any harder than the rest of us. They take work home? So do I. They have to meet continuing education requirements? So do I. They’re underpaid? So am I. Cranky customers? Unreasonable bosses? I’ve got ‘em too. Oh, and any professional development I need, I’m expected to get on my own time and my own dime. I’m really not sure why I’m expected to be so sympathetic and so outraged about the difficult lot of the schoolteacher. Everyone’s job has bad aspects.

    Anyway, as the parent of an SPS student, I’m pretty annoyed by the change. Mid-winter break takes place six weeks after the kids return from winter break–and not even full weeks, because of the day off between semesters and the MLK holiday. Throw in professional development days and it seems like the kids have a weekday off every ten days or so. It’s kind of ridiculous. Plus, it was nice this year to have my daughter get out of school at the same time as her Eastern Washington cousins–it adds an extra week for us to coordinate family visits.

    Comment by Halyn — 4:26 pm June 20, 2013 #

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