Opposed to ELTP and K-6+

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Megan Fox

May 11, 2021, 10:25:23 AM5/11/21
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Dear School Board Members,

LAPS School Board Vision: We will lead by example and govern a school district in which every child is inspired and learns to his/her full potential.
After coming across your vision statement, I don’t think you need to debate this issue as mandatory additional days will reduce most students' ability to be inspired and learn to their full potential. In our modern world, where students are required to be using technology much of the day and while at home for homework, our children need a break. A full on break, to do whatever they please- including being bored, as research has shown boredom leads to creativity, ingenuity and good mental health! Students who require extra assistance should receive it, preferably during the year from additional instructional assistants to work one on one, or, if necessary during summer school where smaller class sizes and focused attention can help to improve any learning gaps. These students who are most in need of extra instruction deserve more than fighting for what they need in a sea of other students who are disengaged and tired of being at school. I am against adding mandatory ELTP and K-6+ programs to the 2021-2022 school year (or any subsequent years) as I do not believe the intended outcome will be achieved and because summer is too valuable a commodity to reduce.

Instead of adding more instructional hours, let’s improve our efficiency in teaching and our school systems. Are there better methods to work with students who fall behind? Are there different methods to measure understanding more immediately so as to identify struggling students more quickly? I’d rather we focus our time on those kinds of inquiries. Anecdotally, I’ve heard many requests from teachers fall on deaf ears. Let's ask our teachers what they need to grow more successful students and see if we can implement those requests. Based on the staff survey, their request is clear- NO extra days, our teachers do not believe that extra instructional days are what our district is lacking. 

As a LAPS parent, I am opposed to the recommendation (note: NOT a requirement due to the accepted amendment from the HEC) from the NM legislature to add up to 25 additional days to the elementary calendar. This would greatly reduce learning opportunities for our children. Our region lacks a lot of diverse experiences important for children to experience. In order to grow into knowledgeable citizens of our nation and world, we will often require trips longer than one week so that we can leave our region and experience new places and learn off the beaten path. There is an entire world out there for our kids to experience first hand, and we know these experiences are priceless and will result in lifelong memories and inspiration for their future.  For this reason, primarily, I am opposed to the year round schooling option. 

Although I realize the district is still waiting on clarification from the state level, I feel they’ve been vague and misleading throughout this discussion. I would like to see the entirety of the parent, student and staff surveys including all the comments. I certainly expect this to be made public as a gesture of transparency and honest collaboration. In order to even evaluate the proposal we should know exactly how the additional funding from the state will be spent and the exact requirements of how the additional class time will be utilized. Many grand ideas have been suggested (field trips, art, enrichment experiences, bolstering soft skills) but there are no guidelines in place for this additional time. Twenty five days of childhood is too large a price to pay for vague information. I request complete information from the district if this conversation is to continue so that we can have an informed discussion. 

In regards to the Proposed LAPS School Calendar Research and Design Team, as stated in the parent meeting by LAPS, there is no local data that our district requires these additional days to serve the majority of our students. A need based study is not mentioned in the proposal as a place to start. Why should we spend a year developing new plans when additional instructional time is likely to be unjustified? In fact, in the legislation, LAPS was called out as an exemplary district in which other districts need to rise to the level of. The aim of the legislation appears to be to assist other districts to achieve the success that LAPS is already achieving. Additionally concerning is the exclusion of parents from the list of possible membership- I hope this was an oversight and not an indicator of the district’s lack of concern for family units. I would like parents added to the Calendar Research and Design Team.

Striving for improvement and student success is an excellent goal, but not at the expense of our children, LAPS staff and family time. The opinions of stakeholders are clear, there is little support for adding instructional days or changing our district’s calendar.  Every child should be offered quality education in the quantity that they need, thankfully the HEC removed the mandate from SB40 so that districts can choose to opt-out. Please do not proceed with this. Additionally, please consider carefully if a year should be spent exploring alternative schedules at this time, it’s very possible these new options will provide little to no benefit or have no support from the community, as the informal survey conducted by LAPS indicates.

Thank you for your time,
Megan Fox

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