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2018-19 School Calendar: Share your input

Aspen View Public Schools’ administration presented a draft of the 2018-19 School Calendar to the Board of Trustees on January 18, 2018. The Board is now seeking input on the draft calendar from stakeholders to help guide their deliberations.

In particular, the Board of Trustees would like feedback on which elements of the school calendar are most important to stakeholders, such as:

  • Maintaining the number of student instructional hours
  • Starting school before or after the Labour Day weekend
  • Maintaining the November break
  • Supporting opportunities for educators’ collaboration and  professional development through regular Staff Work Days

Feedback on the 2018-19 School Calendar can be provided until February 16, 2018 through email to info@aspenview.org

What are the key elements of the draft 2018-19 School Calendar?

The draft 2018-19 School Calendar is very similar to the 2017-18 School Calendar. Key elements identified by the Board of Trustees include:

Instructional Days: The draft 2018-19 School Calendar has 183 instructional days, generally defined as days when students attend school. Alberta Education requires that students in Grades 1-9 receive a minimum of 950 hours of instruction per year; and that Grades 10-12 students receive a minimum of 1,000 hours of instruction per year. Although schedules vary from school to school based on grade configurations and other factors, Aspen View Public Schools administration has determined that based on their current schedules, 183 instructional days ensures that all schools achieve the minimum instructional hours required.

Operational Days: The draft 2018-19 School Calendar has 195 operational days, generally defined as days when teachers are ‘on the job’; this includes:

  • Regular school days
  • Staff work days
  • Teacher’s Convention
  • Days in lieu provided to offset teachers’ scheduled evening work, such as parent-teacher interviews.

Staff Work Days: Aspen View Public Schools instituted Staff Work Days during the 2015-16 school year as an alternative to the prior ‘early dismissal’ days to facilitate school staff meetings. School administrators plan each Staff Work Day to include staff meetings, professional development, collaborative lesson planning and other objectives.

Data collected suggests that the implementation of Staff Work Days has created significant savings for Aspen View through reduced substitute teacher costs. In the 2016-17 school year, substitute teacher costs across the division were down by more than $73,500 from the previous year. Over $54,600 of that reduction specifically reflects substitute teacher costs incurred to facilitate staff professional development.

The draft 2018-19 School Calendar includes seven Staff Work Days; two prior to the start of classes in the fall, and five through the remainder of the year.

November Break: Aspen View Public Schools was among the first Alberta school divisions to implement a November Break in 2015-16. Since then, more school divisions have also adopted a November Break. The November Break parallels the Spring Break scheduled in the second semester, and both have demonstrated benefits to both students and staff, including a reduction in absenteeism.

First day of classes: In recent years, in order to accommodate both the November Break and Staff Work Days while still meeting the minimum instructional hours required, Aspen View Public Schools has set the first day of classes prior to the Labour Day weekend. In the draft 2018-19 School Calendar, the first day of classes is proposed for Wednesday, August 29, 2018.

What changes to the draft 2018-19 School Calendar could be considered?

Trustees have indicated that in recent years, the most common feedback from stakeholders regarding the school calendar is concern over the first day of classes falling before the Labour Day weekend.

Administration has determined that in order to accommodate a post-Labour Day start of classes, other changes to the draft calendar would be required to meet the minimum instructional hours required. Those changes could include one or more of the following:

  • Reducing or eliminating the November Break
  • Reducing or eliminating Staff Work Days
  • Adding additional minutes to each school day; this would have implications for student transportation in some communities

What do you think?

Aspen View Public Schools invites stakeholder feedback on the draft 2018-19 School Calendar by emailing info@aspenview.org. Questions you may wish to address in your feedback are:

  • What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it?
  • Which of the factors described above are most important when determining the school calendar?

Feedback received by Friday, February 16, 2018 will be shared with Aspen View trustees and administration; a decision on the 2018-19 School Calendar is anticipated at the March 1, 2018 meeting of the Board of Trustees.