Parents of students in the Oak Ridge school system will be called this evening for a second opinion poll on a proposed change to the system’s calendar for academic year 2015-2016.
At 6 p.m. today (Thursday), parents will receive a call through the automated Skyward system asking if they want to convert to a “balanced” calendar for all schools or keep the traditional calendar currently used by all but two of the schools in the system. Teachers and other school staff members will be called at 7 p.m. asking for their preferences.
Option No. 1 will be the balanced schedule, which has nine weeks of instruction beginning the first week of August, with two-week breaks in the fall, winter, and spring, and seven to eight weeks off during the summer.
Option No. 2 will be the traditional calendar that has students beginning school in mid-August, with one-week breaks in the spring and fall, two weeks at Christmas, and 11 to 12 weeks during the summer.
Whichever calendar the School Board decides to adopt, Willow Brook Elementary and the Oak Ridge Preschool will also adapt to the change. Currently, students at those schools begin school in mid-July and have three-week breaks.
Both options have students in school for 182 days.
A survey taken last month showed that parents favored the balanced calendar 1,137 to 896, and school employees favored the balanced option 395 to 176. Results from both surveys will be considered as the Oak Ridge Board of Education continues to weigh its options. The matter will be discussed by the School Board when it meets later this month, but no final decision is expected at that time.
The first calendar survey in February was discussed at a Board of Education meeting last month. Board members applauded Chris Marczak, Oak Ridge Schools assistant superintendent, for using the first-time Skyward survey and getting community input and staff, but they also had suggestions on how the survey could be refined. Marczak agreed to make some changes. Among them are adding a message at the end of the survey letting parents and staff know that their vote was counted.
Visit here to read a recent Marczak guest column on the school calendar survey.
See the balanced calendar here: 2015-2016 Balanced Calendar.
See the traditional calendar here: 2015-2016 Traditional Calendar.