By Chris Marczak
The voting results for the 2015-16 school calendar year in Oak Ridge have been counted.
Parents and staff members were called Monday, Feb. 10, and asked if they preferred a balanced calendar or a traditional calendar for all schools, including Willow Brook and the PreSchool, for the 2015-16 school year.
The traditional calendar is the calendar that most of the Oak Ridge Schools have had for quite a while. Students come to school in the middle of August, have a one-week fall break, two weeks off for winter, a one-week spring break, dismissal at the beginning of June, and an eleven- to twelve-week summer.
The balanced calendar is a new calendar that Oak Ridge has never had before. It is called a balanced calendar due to the balance that it gives for instructional time in the classroom—about nine weeks at a time. Students typically arrive for school the first week in August, have a two-week fall break, two weeks off for winter, two weeks off for spring break, dismissal at the beginning of June, and a seven- to eight-week summer. The balanced calendar is not like the Willow Brook Elementary or PreSchool calendar where students start school in mid-July and have three-week breaks.
The calendar phone vote went to both English and Spanish speaking families at 6 p.m. on Monday. Only one phone per house was called in the Skylert callout system.
A total of 3,346 homes were called where English is the primary language. Fifty-eight percent of the families (1,947 families) voted. Of those who voted, 56.2 percent (1,094 families) chose the balanced calendar, and 43.8 percent (853 families) chose the traditional calendar. There was no response in 1,399 homes.
A total of 149 homes were called where Spanish is the primary language. Fifty-seven percent of the families (86 families) voted. Of those who voted, 50 percent (43 families) chose the balanced calendar, and 50 percent (43 families) chose the traditional calendar. There was no response in 63 homes.
The calendar phone vote went to all employed staff members of the Oak Ridge School system at 7 p.m. Monday. Only one phone vote per house was called in the Skylert callout system. However, if a staff member was also a parent, they got one vote at 6 p.m. as a parent and one vote as a staff member at 7 p.m. The results were kept separated in the report; no votes were removed.
A total of 855 staff homes were called. Sixty-six percent of the staff (571 staff members) voted. Of those members, 69.2 percent (395 staff members) chose the balanced calendar, and 30.8 percent (176 staff members) chose the traditional calendar. There was no response in 284 homes.
This information will be presented to the Oak Ridge Board of Education at the regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 24.
Most importantly, thank you to all families and Oak Ridge staff who participated in the voting on either the balanced or traditional calendars starting for the 2015-16 school year!
Chris Marczak is assistant superintendent of Oak Ridge Schools.
See the voting results here: Results of the 2015-2016 Calendar Vote Callout.