News


Some Pleasanton parents, students favor non-traditional calendar options

School board will vote June 3 on 2015-16 calendar

Parents and students voiced their opinions at Tuesday's school board meeting about the calendar options that could be adopted for the 2015-16 school year -- many being in favor of the non-traditional calendars.

Mark McCoy, the district's director of human resources, along with Association of Pleasanton Teachers member Paul Stewart and California School Employees Association member Lisa Lorentz presented the district calendar committee's results from the staff survey and community feedback, and the benefits and challenges of the non-traditional calendar options.

The main purpose for changing the calendar is to better serve the academic and social-emotional needs of the Pleasanton students, according to Tuesday's presentation.

McCoy presented examples of teachers using the calendar debate as a part of their lessons, and the results received from the students.

Walnut Grove Elementary fourth graders in Mrs. Lim's class wrote essays about what calendar option they feel is best for students and why -- 25% liked the current traditional calendar and 75% favored a non-traditional calendar with 66% preferring one of the modified options.

"Frequent short breaks will give our families more rest and vacation time," wrote a group of Mrs. Lim's fourth graders in favor of the modified hybrid calendar. "According to research, breaks help kids stay more engaged and energized about learning."

On the other hand, Donlan Elementary parent Denise Shoehart is in favor of keeping the traditional calendar. She explained to the board that although breaks may help student stress and academic performance, family time is also important -- which will be hard to achieve for students with parents teaching in another district or vice versa.

"We all to need to remember it's Pleasanton students that we're talking about here," said Pleasanton parent Beth McCarthy, who is in favor of modified hybrid and modified lite calendars. "Though we have teachers with students in other districts, we're talking about our students and what's best for them."

The school board will vote for the 2015-16 calendar at the June 3 meeting.

In other business, the school board voted unanimous to eliminate the Staggered Literacy Program for third grade during the 2014-15 school year due to recent survey results of third grade teachers and the loss of instruction time coupled with the increased third grade curriculum along with Common Core Standards.

Also on Tuesday, the board appointed the new director of special education as Marla Silversmith who worked in Pleasanton Unified School District from August 2007 to January 2013. Silversmith will be coming from Dublin Unified as their assistant director of special education.

In addition, the board appointed Mike Williams from Cabrillo Unified School District and Nimarta Grewal from Pleasanton Middle School as Amador Valley High School's new vice principals.

Foothill High School's new vice principal will be Ryan Templeman, Harvest Park and Pleasanton middle schools current vice principal.

During the public comment session, the school board heard from four students and one parent about the reduction of sections in Foothill's German program.

Speakers hope the board considers this as an agenda item and finds a way to stop the section removals.

Board members also unanimously approved the issuance of PUSD 2013 General Obligation Refunding Bonds.

Other matters discussed at Tuesday's meeting included the May revisions to the Governor's proposed budget, and the Local Control and Accountability Plan.

The next board meeting will be held on June 3 at 7 p.m. in the district boardroom, 4665 Bernal Ave.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Member
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 29, 2014 at 8:34 am

Not sure the title matches the article content.

Most of Mrs Kim's wonderful 4th graders favor non-traditional calendar options, yes. Although one wonders if they understand that non-traditional calendar not only means more frequent breaks (yeah) but also that they will no longer have the summer off (boo).

Most Pleasanton parents and students, don't see anything to support that statement in the article. It would be nice to exactly what calendar options the board will vote for on June 3.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on May 29, 2014 at 8:38 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

I prefer the Sports Illustrated swimwear calendar. Thank you, thank you very much.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by What is the rush?
a resident of Del Prado
on May 29, 2014 at 8:39 am

I do not understand the rush on voting on a dramatic change for the district. The general meeting was held at the end of May and you are voting on this matter June 3.

You indicate that a survey has been taken - have all parents been sent home the survey so that you have an actual count for the district.

Why not vote to take a survey of ALLl parents in the district on June 3?

If this is going to help the students emotionally, why have we had for decades the program that has not hurt students from getting into superior schools?

Why are the school districts near our area not changing to this new idea?



 +   Like this comment
Posted by What is the rush?
a resident of Del Prado
on May 29, 2014 at 8:39 am

I do not understand the rush on voting on a dramatic change for the district. The general meeting was held at the end of May and you are voting on this matter June 3.

You indicate that a survey has been taken - have all parents been sent home the survey so that you have an actual count for the district.

Why not vote to take a survey of ALLl parents in the district on June 3?

If this is going to help the students emotionally, why have we had for decades the program that has not hurt students from getting into superior schools?

Why are the school districts near our area not changing to this new idea?



 +   Like this comment
Posted by What is the rush?
a resident of Del Prado
on May 29, 2014 at 8:39 am

I do not understand the rush on voting on a dramatic change for the district. The general meeting was held at the end of May and you are voting on this matter June 3.

You indicate that a survey has been taken - have all parents been sent home the survey so that you have an actual count for the district.

Why not vote to take a survey of ALLl parents in the district on June 3?

If this is going to help the students emotionally, why have we had for decades the program that has not hurt students from getting into superior schools?

Why are the school districts near our area not changing to this new idea?



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jill
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on May 29, 2014 at 9:09 am

@Member: You can see the calendar options in the report to the board, available on the district website at Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Del Prado
on May 29, 2014 at 9:14 am

When parents find out what a non-traditional calendar really means (after this rushed vote by the school board), you will see fireworks. The school board continues to forget who the customer is - the tax paying parents. It is possible that an alternate schedule may be good, but where are the details of exactly what it will mean? Most parents are too busy with making a living and assume the school board is watching the hen house. Unfortunately someone has an agenda - maybe they want to put this on their resume for the next jump up on the career ladder. I suggest the school board delay their vote and put forward a sample schedule of what it will mean so folks can really understand what it looks like. I can think of many unintended consequences such as - you student plays a sport in high school and there is some funky two weeks off in October because of the new schedule. You thought this was down time and might be good to take a vacation, however, the other schools in the East Bay Athletic Conference are not on this schedule so now your kid can't go anywhere because he has to go to sports practice and play in games. So much for the reduced stress. Now you have actually extended the time that the kids will need to be at school because the two weeks that all the other kids have off to travel or go away you don't get that In fact you need to be at school an additional two weeks because there isn't a summer break. Unless the entire East Bay conference moves to the same schedule, you will have this issue. The chances of all the other schools in Alameda and Contra Costa going to a funky schedule is very low. Why are we doing this????????? I encourage you to call the school superintendent at 925-426-4301 and ask for the board to provide the specifics before voting.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by school parents
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 29, 2014 at 9:29 am

I have two children in school and I'm very much in favor of the new proposed calendar. People kept saying "no more summer", but in reality, summer is still there, just a couple of weeks shorter.

During the school year, kids get stressed out over testing and projects. Having more breaks will give the kids more time to take a breather. Just like if you are at work and have completed a project/mile stone, it would be nice to have a few days off right? Well, kids feel the same.

My understanding is that Dublin school district is proposing the same calender. Possibly Livermore as well.

In short, this would be a good change and I can't wait for it to take effect.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by vintage hills parent
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 29, 2014 at 9:50 am

Is this "more break" thing for teachers or for students. Work load for my kids is lite. What stress are we talking about? Why do they need break so often? Do you know how tough to get kids in mindset of going to school after each break? Be realistic, 1/3 of their school time is fun time already. Politicians like to fix things which are not broken to show people they are "working" so that they can move to next high position.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Uninformed Community
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 29, 2014 at 10:19 am

I agree - what is the rush, especially since many parents aren't aware of what is going on. I've talk to many, who are asking me, "What are you talking about?" They did a poor job in getting parents educated and involved in the process. Mr. McCoy referenced he had 200 emails from parents to the designated email address. Shouldn't he have thousands since there are over 15,000 students enrolled (I believe) in PUSD? To my point, parents haven't been informed well enough. To rely on parents to go to a website and not send anything home in writing with the kids is a poor effort on the committee's part. Not to have a meeting at each school site to get people informed, again, is a poor effort in really wanting to know how the community feels. Whether you are for it or against it, isn't my point. My point is the parents of the community haven't been well informed. We deserve to be involved and informed better.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 29, 2014 at 10:56 am

I find the sexual innuendo by "...disease" irrelevant to the topic.

If she thinks that she's funny and establishing her heterosexual credibility...NOT!

Please remove...thank you.

Cholo Pololo Mololo


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pololo Mololo
a resident of Livermore
on May 29, 2014 at 11:13 am

forgot to say....Thank You...thank you very much indeed! tee hee...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by parents
a resident of Happy Valley
on May 29, 2014 at 11:46 am

This proposed changed has been out since November/December of last year (I first saw it on Pleasanton Weekly then). So there have been plenty of time for the concerned parents to know. What is see is that the so called "concerned parents" brushed the issue aside for the past few months, and now that the time to vote is here, they claim to be ignorant about the topic. Really?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on May 29, 2014 at 12:30 pm

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Looks like Livermore cholo didn't get in to the VA for his meds yet


 +   Like this comment
Posted by T.B.
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on May 29, 2014 at 12:56 pm

I have not been a huge fan of our school board/superintendents this year (based upon what I see as many poor decisions for my school site), but I have to say, I think they are getting this one right. I attended the meeting on Tuesday and listened to the very thorough report presented to them. It covered everything- from sports, to stress, to reteaching time, to the difficulties of change. I also heard from high school students, the parent community and elementary students- many speaking in favor of a change to the current calendar. They are not rushing this one. The surveys, research and information sessions have been going on for months and they have chosen to cast vote at the next meeting out of respect for parents/teachers/students. I repeatedly heard that they want to be considerate and give people ample planning time. While they openly addressed the fact that high school students will be the major beneficiaries of the change, they also acknowledged that all elementary and middle school students will eventually be high school students, causing this to have a 100% benefit down the road.

Many of our neighboring districts are also considering various changes. There is no way for all of us in the area to be on the same calendar- some use semesters, some use trimesters etc. I am proud of our district for being ambitious and taking on something that might attract a little bit of conflict for the greater good of our students. I did not go into the meeting feeling this way, so kudos to the speakers and presenters for giving so much information and thank you to PUSD leaders for getting this one right! (Assuming they vote the way they indicated they would at the meeting:)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Susie
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on May 29, 2014 at 1:09 pm

I think it is a great decision to change the school calendar to a modified one. I have several friends who have students that attend schools in Brentwood where they have a modified calendar and they love it. I hope that other surrounding districts also change to a modified calendar too. The complaints about not having summer are bogus, the reality is all 4 purposed modified versions, you would get anywhere from 7-9 weeks of Summer break vs 10 weeks break that we currently have. For those of you complaining saying you haven't been informed, you need to start reading your emails and school newsletters in addition to the PW blogs, as this info has been out since last year.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 29, 2014 at 2:19 pm

I'd be more interested in finding out how schools rank, or have changed in the ranking, that have moved to a modified schedule. Since Brentwood was specifically mentioned, I thought it would be interesting to compare it with Pleasanton. Following are the sites to check out the API scoring for Pleasanton USD and Brentwood Union Elementary (includes only elementary & middle schools, but it was the only one I found). Big difference in scores.

Pleasanton: Web Link

Brentwood: Web Link

Pleasanton (with the exception of Valley) scored much higher in both 2013 and on the 3-year averages. Anyone know what high schools serve Brentwood? They may be in a different district.

I'm not sure Brentwood is a good example of the benefits of a modified calendar. I admit I haven't paid much attention to the discussion since my grandchild will no longer be in the Pleasanton USD after June, but I am curious to know if the studies provided any information on a comparable school district to Pleasanton that actually showed score improvements after moving to a modified schedule.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by oberona
a resident of Birdland
on May 29, 2014 at 2:52 pm

"Member" please note, it's Mrs. Lim, not Mrs. Kim. Thank you!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by oberona
a resident of Birdland
on May 29, 2014 at 2:52 pm

"Member" please note, it's Mrs. Lim, not Mrs. Kim. Thank you!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by API scores don't say much
a resident of Country Fair
on May 29, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Maybe they should include the demographics in the API schools and then compare Brentwood school district to Pleasanton. I guarantee there are way more ESL kids in Brentwood then Pleasanton and that could be one reason why the API schools are significantly lower


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Susie
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on May 29, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Good point regarding API scores and demographics. I bet your right that it has something to do with why the scores are lower in Brentwood then Pleasanton.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PleasantonGal
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 29, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Here is the presentation: Web Link

There is also a sample modified lite calendar option at the end. School would start earlier, end earlier, and one week October break and all other breaks remain the same. And a 9 week summer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Curt
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 29, 2014 at 3:50 pm

I like to take my kids with me to Europe a couple of times each year. Airfare and hotel rates are always much higher during traditional calendar vacation spans that tend to overlap with just about every other educational calendar in the US. A nontraditional calendar would offer more travel opportunities, less crowds, and less expensive rates. I like it!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Curt
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 29, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Also, I agree with Cholo's assessment of Disease. I don't support censorship, but I would like to add my moral disapprobation. The SI swimsuit issue treats women like pieces of meat to be drooled over by men who have never learned how to love women. Any surprise that this expression of moral immaturity would come from a guy who says others are diseased?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 29, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Thanks for the link to the presentation (couple of posters). Thanks also to the District staff that produced a calendar that clearly shows start, end, and break dates.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jannie
a resident of Amador Estates
on May 29, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Start comparing Pleasonton API's to districts with the same demographic or socioeconomic status and you will be very very sad. We do very poorly under that comparison.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No Parcel Tax Here, Baby
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on May 29, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Whoa, Jannie, now that's a surprise. One would think that with all the positive reinforcement and feedback coming from Kathleen, Liberalism is a Disease, Right, William Tell and all the other fiscally conservative cheerleaders that the school would be doing much better. Go figure!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on May 29, 2014 at 6:08 pm

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Curt and cholo, why are liberals always so humorless? Your life must really be sad, but that is apparent by your Whitney posts that seek to tear people down. Maybe antidepressants are in your future, unless you like your pariah status.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ptown 72
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 29, 2014 at 8:08 pm

MOST parents favor calendar changes????? Really????? Have we officially been asked???? Where is the survey? Where are the results? I would like to see the evidence and I request a chance to give my input in a formal way.

I have to admit I was shocked at the lack of parent comment at the board meeting on Tuesday. I have been following the posts on this site and expected many, many people to want to voice their opinions, but all who did were some sixth grade students and a high school student, and then finally one parent. Amazing, considering what a substantial change this will mean for our city and valley area.

Where is the data for such a big change? The conversation from the first parent informational meeting I went to has been about "doing what is best for our children." I definitely want the best for our children, but I also want a good reason for this change, other than transcripts being ready earlier, a week in October for kids to work on college applications, and cheaper vacation fees. Really? This will impact thousands of people....

What college opportunities have Pleasanton children missed out on due to our current calendar?

How have calendar changes in other districts improved student academic performance? There seems to be such a concern about kids forgetting material over the summer, yet we have some of the top performing schools in the state and country.

If Pleasanton wants to make this change, I think they should come together with all local districts and talk about it as a group and either do it as a group or not. I work in another district, and what we have been told is that Livermore and Dublin are not planning on following Pleasanton, yet at every meeting I have attended about this there is a giggle when they say, "They are watching us to see what happens." I think it would be interesting for the Livermore and Dublin union reps to show up and voice this at the next board meeting.

I also think the parents should be able to complete a survey before any final decision is made. I cannot believe one board member brought it up and then others voiced they didn't think it was necessary. Seriously? And they plan to make this decision at the next meeting.... which is next week. It seems as if they are trying to sneak the vote in.

I want what is best for my children, but I can tell you for my family this is not what is best. Since I work in a neighboring district, I already know how crummy it is when a simple spring break isn't aligned. If Pleasanton starts August 4, 2015 and ends May 27, 2016.... (dates shown on the only sample calendar shown at the board meeting) I will miss out on 6 weeks with my children (5 weeks of summer and a week in October). I know I am not the only one that will have this happen to their families. How sad for those of us who chose education and thought it would give us summers off with our children. Now many of our children will be having to add to the day care system.

I will be sending my thoughts to the board and superintendent. I do not think this decision has been given enough time or true consideration.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 29, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Jannie,
Good suggestion. What district(s), with modified schedules in use during at least 2013, would you suggest we look at for a comparison? Thanks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 29, 2014 at 9:18 pm

There are plenty of parents who work full time that don't have summers off and they make do. I would prefer that our school board makes the change based on our children, not on how it will affect people who teach in other districts or have children in other districts. If you want to have your cake and eat it to, then you need to teach in the same district that your child goes to school. Otherwise you have to deal with it like all the other parents do.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 29, 2014 at 9:59 pm

I also took the time to read through the documents presented to the public. I like the idea quite a bit.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Barbara
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on May 29, 2014 at 10:06 pm

Wow! How incredibly selfish of the teacher above. I am sorry you will miss out on 6 weeks of vacations with your kids. Get a real job and see how much you miss out. Tweaking the calendar a little is needed for OUR kids. They will have more clear breaks in grading periods and more down time. Something they need to learn to do. We are pushing our kids too hard. And here's a newsflash, no schedule is going to affect the performance of the affluent kids. The schools that don't perform have poor kids. We don't have a lot of those that's why we perform well. Not the teachers, our money. The schedule makes sense and I am glad the board is considering it. Everyone will adjust and forget the old calendar in no time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stop complaining
a resident of Valley Trails
on May 29, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Well said Sam. As a parent who works full time and has to find child care for 10 weeks during summer, I think it would be great if they modified the school calendar. I'm so tired of teachers complaining about how this change will be detrimental to them. Teaching may be a tough job, but you also get 10 weeks off during the Summer, a week in Nov, 2 weeks in Dec, a week in the Spring, every major holiday off. How many other full time jobs have those luxuries? Be grateful you have the time off that you do. The majority of the world doesn't and welcomes the change.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A Former Student
a resident of Civic Square
on Jun 2, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Oh Pleasanton schools, I feel sorry for there pain, your price on lunch (adveged spent $3.00-$7.00) are ridiculous, the high school senior dance is at a ridiculous location (San Francisco and expensive), your books are out dated, and maybe a few other thing beside education.

Take a perspective who attended schools from other cities, every district handles their school days differently. I'll compere it to one of the high school I've been.

Lunch:$0.40 on the main meal, Dance: at the school's gym and very affordable, and time 7:30 am to 3:00 pm. And other schools do the color coded calender. So quit your winning and fix your school system and make it reliable and affordable for EVERYONE!!!.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lessismore
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 3, 2014 at 5:12 am

You all had the opportunity to attend the informational meeting they held at many of the schools this spring where were you.

Now you want a survey to be held.

I attended and was at first not in-favor of the change, but walked out in-favor of the change.

There is a lot of miss information being shared.
Please get the facts.

The kids still attend school 185 day same as now.
They get more breaks during the yea.

The breaks would be in-line with the high schools exams and not just AP. The kids would take there quarter, midterms and finals then have a break.
Not like today where they take a break and 2 weeks later have exams.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Measure BB could pay to connect Dublin Boulevard to Livermore
By Tim Hunt | 5 comments | 1,039 views

Moving to Maine, Maybe
By Roz Rogoff | 3 comments | 931 views

“…and all I ask of dyin’, is to go naturally” *
By Tom Cushing | 11 comments | 629 views