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Meaningful review of the school calendar
Mark has long advocated for thorough review of the school calendar, to help families’ scheduling and to improve opportunities for professional development and extra instruction for students who need it. The calendar reform process finally began this year, with mixed and minor results: staff was late bringing proposals to the Board, and the main innovation was more Fall and Spring break days; both of the presented proposals had weaknesses. The Board adopted the option which attracted more support in a community survey.
Much more radical study of the calendar is needed, including the possibilities of ending early Wednesday out by organizing professional development into longer blocks, a year-round calendar, a slightly longer school day, and later morning starts for high schools. Staff proposed a rollover calendar for 2013-14 (basically repeating this year’s calendar), but Mark has proposed shortening the Fall break to two days and a later August start which would better align with other local districts. Calendar reform is simpler than many of the other changes needed in TUSD and should be proceeding faster.