45/15 spurs school time study; Group will discuss going district-wide with year-round school, along with other possibilitiesPublished 10:34am Monday, April 7, 2014
Austin Public Schools has put together about 50 volunteers from around Austin in a working group to explore school time and calendar initiatives, which includes a potential district-wide switch to a year-round, 45/15 calendar.
Though the group will initially meet this month and in May, district officials say the group will research calendar options this fall.
“They’ll be asked to read research and in the end, make a recommendation to the [Austin Public Schools] board,” Superintendent David Krenz said. “The actual community feedback, if the board decides to act on those recommendations, will come later.”
The working group comes as Sumner Elementary School wraps up its third year under a year-round calendar, which has a shortened summer break and three-week breaks throughout the school year. District officials have been pleased with Sumner’s progress under the year-round schedule thus far, and the board approved earlier this year Sumner’s attempts to renew its schedule with the state Department of Education.
Yet the community is already buzzing with rumors about a potential districtwide 45/15 schedule. School officials said in 2011 they would look into the issue after Sumner went through three years of a year-round calendar and nearby Albert Lea Public Schools is looking into a district calendar switch.
The calendar switch is the catalyst behind the working group, according to school administrators.
“The impetus of this has been from community members,” Krenz said. “When you do have an opportunity to see a change first hand, then it does create at least a willingness to look at options, and I think that’s where we’re at at this point.”
District officials say the group won’t just explore year-round calendar options for all schools. Educational Services Director John Alberts said each school has its own concerns, so it’s possible not all schools could run under a year-round calendar.
“Context really does matter when you’re looking at these things,” Alberts said. “We have four different elementary schools and each has a little bit different context.”
The working group will set parameters for its research at meetings in late April and in May, and then gather in September to research. The group is expected to share its findings with the board on Dec. 8.