The 2020-2021 school year is awaiting approval by the Oswego School District 308 Board of Education after revisions were presented to the board during a recent meeting.
A tentative calendar for the upcoming school year was first presented to the board during its Oct. 21 meeting as an information item. During the meeting, board members were presented with recommendations from the district's standing Calendar Committee.
The main change to the calendar presented at the Oct. 21 meeting was to start the school year on the third Wednesday of August - Aug. 19, 2020 - instead of the second Wednesday.
For the past few years, Superintendent Dr. John Sparlin explained, the district has started the year on the second Wednesday instead of the third. The change reflects a vote cast by the district's teacher union, the Oswego Education Association. The remaining semester start and end dates would stay the same, Sparlin said.
Board member Alison Swanson asked why the district has 3.5 hour school days, marked on the calendar as School Improvement Days. She suggested changing the six 3.5 hour days presented on the schedule to three full institute days, to give teachers and administrators more time to attend meetings and accomplish work.
"I know every time my kid has a 3.5 hour day, it becomes a headache, not only for me, but I imagine for the teachers who are trying to get work done, and then trying to go to a meeting," she said.
Board member Toni Morgan said a 3.5 hour day compromises instructional time in the classroom and negatively impacts attendance.
School Improvement Days are full days where students are not in attendance, intended to serve as professional development days for teachers, Sparlin said. The district is not permitted to have more than four Institute Days.
The discussion concluded, with the schedule sent back to the Calendar Committee with a request to re-examine the calendar to move the 3.5 hour days to a Friday where the following Monday is a day off, or rearrange days to provide teachers with more time for professional development.
Board members were presented with the revised calendar at the Nov. 11 meeting of the board, now with three - 3.5 hour days. Each of the proposed days fall on Fridays, two where students would have the following Monday off as a holiday.
According to the revised calendar, the school year would still start on the third Wednesday of August, and the 2020-2021 school year would end May 25, 2021.
The proposed calendar can be seen on the board's BoardDocs website, accessible through the school district's website.
The calendar is expected to be approved at the board's upcoming meeting at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 9, in the Community Room of Oswego East High School.