school calendar communications

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Katie Belobrajdic

Mar 14, 2023, 4:36:07 PM3/14/23
Members of the School Board,

I'm very concerned that the board may be considering the use of intersessions for intervention as a potential benefit of the balanced calendar. This inequitable practice would dismiss the very real socioemotional needs of some of the most vulnerable students who deserve, along with their teachers, the opportunity for a respite from the established struggle of the school environment and the chance to bolster their well-being and confidence through unstructured time and/or enriching non-academic pursuits.  Based on past surveys and our community's overwhelming objection of the optional extended school year plan, our community understands that asking students and staff to invest more of their time, their most precious resource, into the same quality of system is far more likely to produce negative well-being effects and drive disengagement rather than foster academic improvements. Please see my earlier public comment here for more details on this. The same principle applies to intervention -- investments in the quality, and not quantity, of intervention are likely to produce gains in both academic and wellbeing. 

I'd also like to address how the lack of transparency in the calendar communications has eroded trust in the relationship between the community and LAPS. I suspect there is a portion of our community that already feels misled or deceived and many more will feel that way soon. Here is a partial list of some of the biased or confusing elements within these communications:

- The embedding of the survey link in the newsletter on the same day that a standalone survey was sent out twice
- Including ONLY the benefits of the balanced calendar in the main survey text, rather than advantages/disadvantages of each calendar option
- The linked slide show only describes advantages and "potential challenges" of the balanced calendar but has no in-depth discussion of the other calendar options
- Failing to disclose that the traditional calendar as presented is not viable from a funding perspective that honors the time and effort of staff
- Failing to provide a viable calendar option that would be most similar to our current traditional calendar
- Inconsistent formatting of the "Yes"/"No" answer choices like "No, I would not like longer school days vs "No, I do not like a balanced calendar"
- Describing how the third "compromise" option could be used as either a transition to a balanced schedule or continued on a longer basis, but having the "Yes" option for this proposed calendar imply its use only as a temporary transition to a balanced calendar ("Yes, I prefer a transitional calendar")

Katie Belobrajdic

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