Flagler County public school students may be enjoying an extra two weeks of summer. But a proposed revised calendar will have them make up every lost day through shorter Thanksgiving, winter and spring breaks, and by converting teacher work days into instructional days.
Last week the Flagler County School Board agreed to push the reopening of schools to Aug. 24 instead of Aug. 10 as local and state coronavirus cases surge and the district adapts to a trio of educational models that limit the presence of students on campus.
The board agreed to meet Tuesday in special session, giving its administration and calendar committee time to craft an altered school calendar for the year.
The new calendar it will vote on at the 3 p.m. meeting has students completing the year almost on time–with two days tacked on at the end of the school year. But if the general framework of the calendar will seem familiar at first glance, many changes are in the details, with numerous days off replaced by instructional days for students, and almost all the teacher work days replaced by instructional days. In sum, all 10 instructional days lost to the two-week delay will be made up through reduced days off or through the conversion of teacher work days into class time.
For students, faculty and staff, one prominent change is an abbreviated Thanksgiving week off. The original calendar had the week of Nov. 23 through the 27 off, with Thanksgiving falling on Nov. 26. But Nov. 23, 24 and 25 were also tagged as hurricane make-up days, if necessary. Nov. 23 and 24 are now covid-emergency make-up days, while the Thanksgiving break will be limited to three days that week, from Nov. 25 to 27 (plus the weekend).
Students will also lose two of their Winter Break days, and faculty will lose one of those two days. Winter Break in the original calendar stretched over two weeks plus a day for students, from Dec. 21 through Monday, Jan. 4, with Dec. 21 counting as a teacher work day. In the new calendar, the Dec. 21 teacher work day will be replaced with a regular work day for faculty and students, and students will have to return to class on Monday, Jan. 4. Winter Break will go from 11 days to nine days for both faculty and students.
Spring Break will be reduced from six to five days off for students, as a teacher work day on Monday, March 22, is replaced with a regular instructional day. Spring Break is now scheduled from March 15 to 19.
The school year for students was originally scheduled to end on May 27, a Thursday, with that Friday devoted to a teacher work day. In the new calendar, students will have to finish out the week in class and come back to class after Memorial Day, on June 1, for just that one day, in essence adding two days to the end of the school year. Teachers will still have to put in a teacher work day on Wednesday, June 2.
The new calendar preserves the five national holidays–Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day. It also preserves Tuesday, Nov. 3, as a day off for all, to accommodate Election Day, as several schools will be used as voting precincts. The school board was reluctant to have voters and politicians interact with students or staff now that the Legislature has changed the rules, allowing candidates to politic at any precinct, even on school grounds, the day of the election (as long as they respect certain restrictions).
Teachers have lost a slew of planning and work days that had been built into the calendar: not a single one of their six days built into the calendar survived, with a seventh–the work day originally scheduled for the end of the year, on May 28–pushed to June 2. Under the original calendar, teachers were scheduled to start planning on Aug. 4 through 7. Those days have now been scheduled for Aug. 19, 20 and 21, but teachers will be required to start the year on Aug. 10, with seven scheduled professional learning days.
The end of the first quarter has been pushed two weeks, to Oct, 23, and the end of the second quarter has been pushed from just before the winter break to January 15. The third quarter’s end is pushed two weeks, to March 26, and the end of the second semester is pushed to June 1 instead of May 27.
The length of quarters have also changed, but only slightly: the first quarter will last 44 days instead of 43, the second quarter will last 46 days instead of 42, for a total of 90 days in the first semester, rather than 85. The second semester will be shorter. Quarters 3 and 4 were to have 47 days each. They will have 43 and 46 days instead, and the semester will be reduced from 94 days to 89 days.
Keep your fingers crossed: the original calendar included five hurricane make-up days in the fall semester. The proposed calendar has only one such make-up day: Nov. 25, the eve of Thanksgiving.
Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt told the board last week that the calendar committee and the administration’s negotiations with the teachers and service employees unions would lead to the revised calendar. The district is offering three instructional options for students and parents: one would be in-person instruction at the district’s nine campuses. Another would be instruction through iFlagler, the Florida Virtual School-like online system. And a third option is remote instruction, which entails students participating from home but sitting for every streamed class at its regularly scheduled time, with attendance and work requirements mirroring those of the in-person setting. Board members were favoring the remote models to the extent that they would diminish in-person attendance and allow for more manageable social distancing and other covid-preventing measures.
You can compare the two calendars below.
Based on current NASA weather satellite images hurricane make up days needed. Recovery from hurricane impact has required more than one day.
This is absolutely stupid! You had exactly 2 weeks before schools starts but no our state is too stupid to notice when too late is too late. Now you have families needing to reschedule trips and stuff since you can’t have a brain to think about families already having plans since the last schedule came out over a month ago to plan winter trips, trips for Thanksgiving for family, events for spring break, gone. Because Flagler Schools pulled yet another stupid move! Have fun explaining to parents next that we lose the option to go in person learning and see how that goes, school is essential. Keep it on the original schedule not act like it’s not essential, if it isn’t then let’s cut teachers salary and the tax for school to an even lower level! No because then you all get all snippy because you put yourselves in a corner.
You shouldnt be visiting with family right now. You should be staying home keeping your family safe, not traveling or going out for fun or entertainment.
Sorry if the safety of the children and employees of the school district effects your vacation plans. You can always use the option of Florida virtual to educate your children. By all means do not discount the job done by the teachers in this district. Saying there pay should be cut is wrong. Maybe we should take a look at the state officials that are mandating school to start when this covid virus is still spreading out of control. Come elections I will be re-evaluating me feelings.
I will be voting against every one of you the next time your seat is up 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬
Percy's mother says
Maria Barbosa’s school board seat is up for grabs this election.
Colleen Conklin’s school board seat is up for grabs this election.
Andy Dance is vacating his school board seat to run for county commission. So that’s up for grabs.
So that’s 3 school board seats up for grabs in August. Make sure you vote.
What people need to understand when developing a school calendar is that the state requires a minimum of minutes and seat hours in the classroom, for each semester. Calendars are developed in order to follow those mandates. Once it was determined to push opening day back for students to August 24, the calendar had to be adjusted to enable those lost minutes and hours to be made up in the first semester. Which had a domino affect to the rest of the calendar as well.
It would have been nice for the reporter of the article to include this very important information. The calendar was not arbitrarily changed on a whim.
I can assure you that no one who sat on that committee enjoyed having to rearrange, add or take away days to the previous calendar. But little did we know last year when we developed that calendar that a pandemic would occur.