MODESTO -- The Sylvan Union School District wants to hear from parents and community members about proposed changes to school day schedules for next year. A survey, due Thursday, is on the district website.
The Sylvan board will hear recommendations March 19 and is expected to take final action April 16 on the schedule changes, which would take effect in August.
Parents in the district are encouraged to watch a 13-minute video posted on the Sylvan website, www.sylvan.k12.ca.us. A letter and the survey, in English and Spanish, are posted there as well. Paper surveys are available in English and Spanish in each school office for those without Internet access. The parent survey closes after Thursday night.
The Sylvan district is studying three models to provide teacher meeting time:
Common Time: For grades seven and eight only, arrange common prep periods for teachers with similar subjects. No significant cost.
Buying Time: For grades kindergarten through six, hire specialists, such as teachers of art, music, physical education or technology, to move among grades and schools, providing specialized instruction to students, giving classroom teachers time to collaborate. Estimated to cost up to $680,000 per year in additional salaries, but would not require changing the school day.
Shifting Time: For all grade levels, dismiss students an hour early every Wednesday and extend the school day 15 minutes on the four other days. Low-cost child care on Wednesdays may be available; cost estimate is $850 per year in additional busing.
The district Committee for Professional Learning Communities held two community forums seeking feedback last month. Committee members said the change is needed to provide weekly collaboration time for teachers in advance of the switch to Common Core state standards and online adaptive testing. Implementing the statewide switch begins in 2013-14. It must be in place for 2014-15.
Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2339, on Twitter, @NanAustin, www.modbee.com/education.