MODESTO -- Sylvan Union educators made their case to about 60 parents Wednesday night for shifting school day starts and stops through the week to give teachers time to work together.
Comparing teaching to quarterbacking, Ustach Middle School Principal Nick Stever said the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick has a team of experts critiquing and coaching him. "He has regular contact with people who scrutinize what he's doing and tell him what could work better," Stever said.
Critiquing methods, sharing strategies and comparing results, research shows, "is the biggest hope for sustained school improvement," he said.
Improvement will be critical to teaching the demanding work of the so-called common core standards, Standiford Elementary Principal Matthew Shipley said. "It will change everything in our classrooms. This is huge. But this is good."
Sylvan Educators Association lead negotiator John Zambo said teachers proposed the shift to what are called professional learning communities and was glad to see the district leading the way in making it happen. Professional growth and evaluations are being proposed for next year's contract. "It's all part of the same process," Zambo said.
For early grades, presenters mentioned two options to fit in teacher meeting time. The costlier option, to bring in specialty teachers to take students for a set period for art, music, athletics or other topics, got little traction. Shifting time, having a different drop-off or pickup time at least one day a week, prompted more in-depth discussion.
In breakout sessions, parents asked about child care options and after-school programs. Would teachers from different campuses work together? Could special education teachers also collaborate? How will the new tests work? Will taxes go up?
Shipley said all those issues and more will be given more study. A second meeting will be held tonight. The Sylvan Union board will take up the matter at its Feb. 26 meeting.
Tonight's meeting will be at 7 in the Stockard Coffee multipurpose room, 3900 Northview Drive. Spanish translation will be provided.
Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2339. Follow her on Twitter, @NanAustin.