How to further involve parents in choosing academic calendars next year

A survey has been sent to parents to vote on four possible academic calendars for the upcoming school year at San Antonio ISD
By: | June 9, 2020
San Antonio ISD leaders have shared four possible school academic calendar options with parents to vote and provide feedback on for the upcoming year.Schools districts such as San Antonio ISD are giving parent options are how and when their children will attend school. ( Westend61)

San Antonio ISD leaders have shared four possible school academic calendar options with parents to vote and provide feedback on for the upcoming year. Families can opt to stay with the traditional schedule and decide whether their children should come to school daily or every other day.

“Fear has been growing as more and more families have been forced to stay at home, so we decided to include families in our contingency planning process with surveys and voting, and based on their feedback, that will be how we develop those plans for the next school year,” says Superintendent Pedro Martinez of the Texas district.

Each school academic calendar extends the year by three weeks but uses the time differently (see below):

“When deciding which calendars to adopt, we will first look at the overall results as well as the number of schools whose families feel as though we need to add days to the calendar,” says Martinez. “Then we will look at every school individually and choose the plan based on a simple majority.”

Related: Should we start next school year early, and make it longer?

Related: Why these schools are adopting year-round schooling

Even though the district will continue to collect data from parents throughout the summer, the board will implement a decision no later than June 22 for summer classes in July. “We will bring parents into our buildings to see what we have in place and work out the kinks during these two weeks, so by August 10 when school starts in the fall, parents will feel better,” says Martinez.

The district is hosting numerous parent meetings in June via Zoom up to the 22nd, during which time the school board  will discuss budgeting and the academic calendars.

Beyond school academic calendar options

Parents will also vote on whether to have their children come into school daily or every other day. District leaders plan on bringing in as many students as possible. “If the state says we can bring in 70% of the population, then we will plan to bring in 70% if it can be done safely and if parents are comfortable,” says Martinez. “If we have the capacity to accommodate more students safely, then we will, if parents are comfortable.”

He adds, “This is really an ideal time to engage families because these are unprecedented times. Regardless of the choices we pursue, our families just really appreciate knowing the challenges we are facing, our thought processes, the safety procedures we are putting in place and having this knowledge ahead of time as we include them in the decision-making process.”

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