By Chris Marczak
The second calendar voting for the Oak Ridge 2015-16 results have been counted.
Parents and staff members were called on March 13 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 first vote callout took place Feb. 10.
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 11- to 12-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 second calendar phone vote went to both English- and Spanish-speaking families at 6 p.m. Thursday. Only one phone per house was called in the Skylert callout system, a total of five calls were placed if no one answered, and the callout ended only when either a vote was counted or a phone number had been called five times.
For the second round of voting, 3,368 homes where English is the primary language were called. Fifty-six percent of the families, or 1,889 families, voted. Fifty-seven percent of the families (1,078) chose the balanced calendar, and 43 percent of the families (811) chose the traditional calendar. There was no response in 1,479 homes.
For the second round of voting, 150 homes where Spanish is the primary language were called. Fifty-eight percent of the families, or 87 families, voted. Fifty-two percent of the families (45) chose the balanced calendar, and 48 percent (42) chose the traditional calendar. There was no response in 63 homes.
For the second round of voting, the calendar phone vote went to all employed staff members of the Oak Ridge School system at 7 p.m. 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.
Eight hundred sixty-five staff homes were called. Sixty-seven percent of the staff, or 583 staff, voted. Seventy-one percent of the staff (416) chose the balanced calendar, and 29 percent of the staff (167) chose the traditional calendar. There was no response in 282 homes.
This information will be presented to the Oak Ridge Board of Education at the regular monthly meeting on March 24 at 6pm.
Most importantly, thank you to all families and Oak Ridge staff who participated in the second round of 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 Thursday callout results here: Results of the Callout.