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Time for Learning: 4J Schools to Shift to Standard Schedules

Calendar and schedule will be decided this spring, implemented next fall

Eugene School District 4J will move to a consistent calendar and schedule for all schools in 2018–19. The schedule will be decided this spring after input from families, school staff and community members.

Kids need to be in school, engaged in high-quality teaching and learning, as much as possible—and how much learning time they receive should not be dependent on their neighborhood. Families need consistent, predictable schedules for their students. School staff need coordinated time for professional learning, planning and collaboration.

To achieve these goals, the district has been discussing changing to a consistent calendar and schedule with staff and community for more than a year. Currently, each school has a different schedule, which is inconsistent for families and leads to significant differences in the amount of learning time for each student and active teaching time for each teacher. That inequity isn’t fair to our students and teachers, is not best serving our community, and is not acceptable to the district.

The school district and our teachers’ union reached an agreement in fall 2017 to provide fair, equitable and sufficient teaching and learning time for all students and teachers with a standard calendar and schedule for all schools starting in 2018–19.

The new schedule will provide more learning time for most students and ensure that all schools meet state standards for adequate instructional time. It will require some schedule adjustments at every school.

Consistent calendars and schedules

Annual calendars: Starting this fall, all schools at each level will have the same calendar. Calendars also will be more similar between elementary, middle and high schools, with nearly the same school days, no-school days and half-days at all school levels.

Daily schedules: Daily and weekly school schedules also will be aligned across the district. Before, schools had different starting and ending times, different school day lengths, and different early-release, late-start and no-school days. Starting next fall, all schools will have the same early-release days for school and teacher planning, collaboration and professional development. Schools also will have consistent start and end times, coordinated to provide equitable learning time and allow for efficient student transportation.

Better for students, families, staff, systems

Having a standard calendar and schedule will benefit students, families, staff and community: 

Benefits for students: 

  • Equal learning time for students, no matter which school they attend
  • More learning time for many students

Benefits for families: 

  • Predictable, consistent, clearly communicated school calendar
  • Coordinated calendars and schedules for families with students at different schools

Benefits for staff: 

  • Equitable teaching and prep time for teachers at each school level
  • Coordinated opportunities for multi-school collaboration and professional development
  • Aligned calendars and schedules for staff with children in school

Benefits for community: 

  • Instructional time for all students exceeding required state standards expected by taxpayers
  • Childcare and other opportunities can be aligned to district-wide no-school and early release days

Benefits for efficiency: 

  • Systems streamlined for school supports
  • Coordinated transportation routes (previously schools had 12 different daily start times and 13 different end times, as well as 243 special one-day bus schedules last year)

What’s changing, what’s not

What’s changing: All schools will have some change in their schedule as we align to a consistent schedule across the district. Your child’s school days next year may start or end earlier or later than this year’s schedule.

What’s not changing: This change is about the time and amount of instruction, not about how instruction is provided during the school day. Decisions about teaching and learning schedules within the school day and week are site-based and include teachers’ and parents’ input.

Consistent calendar coming soon

The school board will take action on approval of the 2018–19 school year calendars at the regular board meeting on Wednesday, April 4. In the proposed calendars, dates have been better aligned between elementary and secondary schools, and no-school days have been specified for parent conferences (previously these days were different for each school), but there are not other major changes from previous years. The significant difference is that all schools will now follow the district calendar and will not have additional school-specific no-school days and half-days throughout the year.

Proposed Elementary School Calendar
Proposed Middle & High School Calendar 

UPDATE: School Calendars Approved April 4  

Input sought on schedule draft

An initial draft schedule of consistent starting and ending times for schools has been developed, taking into consideration input that has been received from staff, parents, students and community members during the year this has been under discussion and before. The draft schedule has been shared with the teachers’ union and school staff, and then with the community, for discussion and input.

The initial draft schedule under discussion would have elementary schools on two schedules (with starting and ending times staggered to allow efficient transportation), one schedule for middle schools, and one schedule for comprehensive high schools.

The draft schedule proposes a later start time (9:05 a.m.) for middle and high schools, which research shows is better for adolescent learning, while allowing for extra learning opportunities in a “zero period” before the regular start of the school day.

The draft schedule also includes early-release days for all schools on Fridays to provide time for coordinated professional learning, collaboration and planning. (Currently most schools have an early-release or late-start schedule on Wednesdays or Fridays, but the dates and times are inconsistent.) Friday was chosen in order to have early-release days work better for families, minimize impacts on student learning, and align with key early learning programs that operate Monday through Thursday.

Staff, students, parents and community members are providing input on the initial draft schedule, which will be presented to the school board for discussion at a board work session on Wednesday, April 4. This is not the final schedule.

The board will take action to approve the parameters of a standard school schedule later this spring.

First Draft Schedule of School Start/End Times for Feedback

UPDATE: Second Draft Schedule Published for Feedback
UPDATE: Final Proposed Schedule Published
UPDATE: Standard Schedule Approved

Share your comments and questions  

Your input about school schedules and other important issues is welcome. Public comment is invited at every regular school board meeting (see schedule at tinyurl.com/4Jboardbook) and the school board and superintendent will receive emails sent to board@4j.lane.edu.

A community forum will be held on Wednesday, April 18, 5:30–6:30 p.m., at the 4J Education Center, 200 N. Monroe St., for community members to talk with school board members, learn more about the draft schedules under discussion, and provide feedback. Spanish interpretation will be provided.

 

FINAL UPDATES:
2018–19 School Calendar
2018–19 School Schedule

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