Calendar Committee looks more at schedules

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The Calendar Committee dug even deeper into bell schedules and how changes might impact future calendars at its fourth meeting on Thursday, May 21.

The meeting was held virtually due to COVID-19 concerns. The committee has previously held meetings on March 2, April 16 and May 5. The committee has one more meeting scheduled before the end of the 2019-20 school year, on Tuesday, June 2, and may hold additional meetings in the fall if needed, Director of Communications and co-chair Perry Hibner noted.

Members spent most of the 90-minute meeting in level groups focusing on what staff believes is important for them and students that should be included in a daily schedule.

Before they started, co-chair Sherri Cyra reminded members there are few parameters they must consider. She noted the number of hours students get instruction must remain roughly the same so if late start or early release is added staff professional development days will likely be decreased.

She also said the start and end times for each level must remain close to what they currently are. Cyra said transportation services staff will attend the committee’s next meeting to show how much flexibility they have with the bus schedule. For example, Cyra noted the District was able to add a couple of minutes to the 4K morning and afternoon sessions this year, but it wasn’t possible to do much more than that.

She encouraged members to use their level meetings to establish criteria and develop a plan for getting feedback from colleagues. She noted one question they will have to decide is how much collaboration time they want.

Cyra also reminded members the District is not currently considering pursuing year-round schooling. She said if the District was to consider such an idea in the future, there would likely be a pilot involving 1-2 schools first along with reaching out to other districts in Wisconsin and across the state that have implemented year-round schooling.

All three levels focused on the need for more collaboration time within their professional learning communities. Elementary members also wondered how to optimize shared staff across buildings. Middle members believe encore teams in particular need to have collaboration time that currently isn’t built into the schedule.

High school members wondered if it would be possible to use an alternate schedule once a week that includes collaboration time. They also looked at late start or early release. Another option considered was using the school’s all-school resource block on B days for some collaboration or a combination of adjustments involving lunch, advisory and ASR.

Middle and high school members wondered if they could have time to build possible schedules together at the next meeting because of shared staff and start and end times being similar. Cyra said she will make sure to include time in the June 2 meeting agenda.

Cyra and Hibner also briefly reviewed their report on the committee's work to date that was shared at the Board of Education meeting on May 11. Senior leaders are also getting regular updates, Cyra said.

Before breaking into level groups, Cyra also shared some bumps in the calendar and schedule review process. Cyra said the COVID-19 planning team has begun initial work on what instruction might look like in the fall and noted it may be all in-person, all-virtual or a blended model. The result it is may be challenging to make any schedule modifications for 2020-21, Cyra said.

She also noted know members have expressed interest in doing surveys of staff and families, but administration would like to wait to share any ideas about an early release or late start until staff and students have returned to school buildings. Cyra said those ideas might not be well-received while children are home and doing virtual learning.

Committee members include: Jason Adams, Jessica Beem, Rainey Briggs, Maria Dyslin, Monica Kmak, Nicole Morehouse, Laura Love, Ken Metz, Karen Murphree, Maria Nygard, MaryBeth Paulisse, Lisa Rust, and Tim Simon.