Last spring I held focus groups throughout the District to gather suggestions, thoughts, and general feedback on issues relevant to the upcoming Employee Handbook. The SDJ calendar was one of topics addressed by staff. What came out of that discussion was a desire for the staff to give input to the calendar prior to its approval. Several groups and individuals have submitted suggestions already but I want to make certain that you know there is still time if you want to add your suggestions. The proposed calendars are available on our School District Website under the Handbook Development Document page
You can send your suggestions to Handbook@janesville.k12.wi.us or speak with Mary Ann Kahl our Assistant Director of Administrative and Human Services. She can be reached at 743-5022.
The following is a summary of the feedback that has already been received.
- Eliminate the Optional Day in August for
teachers and the snow day. Have no attendance day on January 2 & 3.
- Conferences: Move elementary conferences to
first or second week of February. The
common theme was that January was too early to be effective. The teachers who commented cited that they
just met with parents in October and report cards went out in November. Soon after there are the Thanksgiving and
winter breaks. The teachers noted with
conferences held in January does not provide enough time for new progress data
to be gathered. Another important aspect
to keep in mind is that when conferences are held in January the teachers would
not see parents again for the rest of the year as there are no other
At least at the elementary level holding conferences in October and
again in March or April makes more sense when aligning conferences with report
cards in November, January, and June.
- Conferences: It may be more convenient for
families with children in multiple schools/grade levels to have conferences on
the same week.
- In recognition of the district’s commitment to
increasing diversity opportunities it was recommended to add Martin Luther King
Jr. day as a day off for staff and students so they can participate in
community activities. Other area school
districts have off this day and it is a legally recognized holiday through the
United States Postal Service.
- If the projected return dates for Winter Break
fall on a Thursday as shown on the proposed calendar or a Friday in future
years it was recommended that we extend Winter Break for a return date on the
Monday of the following week. The
rationale being that a number of families not returning from vacations for
short weeks and the loss of instruction time because of this.
- It was recommended to have the Spring
Parent-Teacher Conferences for the Elementary schools match the Middle/ High
School Conference schedule with all Spring Conferences on March 5th
and 6th and Friday, March 7th off for all students and
teachers. In addition, move the
Elementary Only Teacher Work Day from Friday, March 7th to Friday,
February 28th allowing teachers time to review data from the end of
Second Trimester and prepare for the following week’s Parent Teacher
- A request that the school year for students not
end on a Friday. Ending on a Friday
creates problems with graduation scheduling and the final exam schedule which
requires separate final exams for seniors.
- Consider using the October WEA Conference dates at the end of October for student non-attendance dates. Offer this as a time for teacher collaboration, PBIS training, and new teacher mentoring. Though these dates would not be days off for teachers it would provide a necessary break for students.
Thank you to everyone that provided suggestions and hope to hear from others in the next few days.