News


Pleasanton school board rescinds modified lite calendar

2015-16 school year will follow the traditional calendar

The Pleasanton school board unanimously voted Tuesday night to revert back to the traditional calendar starting the 2015-16 school year.

In addition, the board directed staff to go back to district bargaining units to re-do the process of looking at an alternative calendar.

"If we want to have a good process, then we need to take the time to do this right," said Pleasanton schools superintendent Parvin Ahmadi.

The board did not provide an implementation timeline, therefore, if there has been no decision on an alternative calendar for the 2016-17 school year -- the school district will continue with a traditional calendar until one is made.

Trustees agreed that the new process for an alternative calendar needs to include more input from parents, teachers and students.

More than 25 people spoke about the calendar change, with more than half of the speakers asking the board to rescind June's approval of the modified lite calendar -- adding that there was no community involvement.

Former Pleasanton councilwoman Sharrel Michelotti said, "Pleasanton has been hurt by this process. We cannot ignore the public."

Pleasanton parent Delia Cooper said the approved calendar would make students lose enrichment opportunities, as well as family time -- which all student speakers agreed with.

Tina Amber, whose six daughters attended Pleasanton schools, agreed with Cooper's statement about the loss of opportunities by asking: "Where would my chemical engineer be without her summer internship at Clorox?"

Many speakers echoed Trustee Jamie Hintzke's concern about being presented five calendar options but only two were being considered at June's board meeting.

"One of the things we were shocked to hear was what some of the trustees mentioned," said Pleasanton parent Patti Coonce. "There was really only two options, modified lite and traditional."

Other arguments against the modified lite calendar included how Pleasanton schools will not be aligned with other neighboring districts and the difficulty of finding child care during the October break.

However, Ahmadi said that other school districts are looking at alternative calendars -- adding that Sunol Glen Unified School District was looking at the topic during their school board meeting last night as well.

After over an hour of community input, the board agreed that the district needed to revisit the issue.

"I do feel we can go through a better process that builds trust and confidence," said trustee Chris Grant.

In other business:

* During closed session, the board voted unanimously to appoint Shay Galletti as Fairlands Elementary interim principal effective Feb. 1.

Galletti is currently vice principal at Fairlands and Vintage Hills elementary schools -- appointed by the school board in June.

She will be succeeding Kim Michels, who has decided to retire due to health issues.

According to Ahmadi, Michels will be working with Galletti until the end of January.

* The board recognized Pleasanton teachers that have now received permanent status within the district.

Bill Faraghan, assistant superintendent of human resources, said there are around 30 certificated teachers. However, only eight teachers were able to make it to Tuesday's meeting.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. in the district's boardroom, 4665 Bernal Avenue.

Comments

17 people like this
Posted by Ptownparent
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jan 14, 2015 at 6:54 am

Whoo hoo so happy to hear they are waiting on changing it. There needs to be a better process if they want everyone to be on board! Glad to have it chanced back:)


15 people like this
Posted by Robert Heeter
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 14, 2015 at 7:09 am

My sense from what I've heard and read is that many people favor balancing the semesters a little better, to fix the issue at the high school level. But that can be accomplished without inserting a disruptive and divisive October break. Also, it might be valuable to either drop some of the non-educational days in the fall, particularly in November, or shift them over to the spring. As a prime example, the mid-week holiday taken for Veteran's Day this year doesn't seem to have been adding value. We can honor our veterans without disrupting the production of America's most valuable product -- its children.


21 people like this
Posted by So disappointed
a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 14, 2015 at 7:22 am

Today we are the joke of the Tri-Valley area. Voting for a calendar twice and now unanimously voting against it - ridiculous.

All 5 Trustees have lost my vote for their next election.


21 people like this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 14, 2015 at 7:37 am

Dear School Board - make up your @#$% mind!


11 people like this
Posted by Laverne
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 14, 2015 at 7:49 am

AMEN! HALLELUJAH!
HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME!!!

End of the spring and here she comes back
Hi, hi, hi, hi there
Them summer days, those summer days
That's when I had most of my fun back
Them summer days, those summer days
Out of school, yeah
County fair in the country sun
And everything, it's true, ooh, yeah, yeah

Hot fun in the summertime
Hot fun in the summertime
Hot fun in the summertime
Hot fun in the summertime

Sly & The Family Stone


11 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 14, 2015 at 7:49 am

Continuing a perfect record of waffling. Maybe an expensive study is in order here, you know, throw some of my money at it. And then vote it back in again.


28 people like this
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 14, 2015 at 7:59 am

@So disappointed - I can understand your disappointment with the decision that was made. I have been disappointed myself with decisions of the school board in the past. However, I don't understand how this decision makes PUSD the joke of the Tri-Valley. How is it laughable that the Board actually listened to the 84% of people that spoke last night in favor of recision (26 out of 31)? How is it a joke that they paid attention to the election results in November and finally realized that the community has lost trust in the board due to a sequence of poor decisions related to poor process? I am proud of the new board that they chose to begin rebuilding that trust rather than arrogantly sticking to a decision that should have been changed in September.


27 people like this
Posted by One happy teacher!!!
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2015 at 8:07 am

I'm a teacher in the district with a child who goes to school in another district. I am THRILLED with the vote last night!!!! This was going to be a hardship on my family. While I know Dublin is on the track to make a calendar change, I'm not sure why people are saying other districts are talking about it. I've spoken to several leaders in my child's district and they said they aren't bringing a calendar change to the table soon.

Time for my union to meet and vote this through. Let's get it going, union leadership. You asked us to vote to take a cut in pay because it would benefit our district several years ago. Time for a repeat!


24 people like this
Posted by Amador Parent
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 14, 2015 at 8:26 am

Thank you so much Mark!!! Great job to all of those who attended the meetings and spoke out. Very much appreciated!


28 people like this
Posted by high school student
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 14, 2015 at 8:32 am

The old schedule continues to spoil our Christmas as the end of the semester is in mid-January. This continues to be a mess for all students eventually.


12 people like this
Posted by Let's go back
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 14, 2015 at 8:38 am

I agree with Robert Heeter!!! If you want to make changes, do them without changing the summer calendar.
I listened to all of the television program and did not hear anyone who wanted the traditional calendar wanted a change for the summer. They did not say that during the school year they would not accept change. So reschedule days off so if it essential to have testing for done before December vacation - it can be done. One of the people
that talked told of all of the days off there are during both semesters - it sure looks like a lot of changes can be made without interrupting summer.

It was mentioned by Ms. Ahmadi that there is a process that has to be followed for this to go through. She spoke of how long it can take. This does not need to take forever. The board, staff, union, etc. can get together and get this done if they make it their to priority. It is done in business all the time and it is time to make our school district look like a professional group.

Again, one of the board hesitated with her vote and she did the last time too. It seems like she wants to be friends with both sides - sometimes you just need to make a stand like the rest of the board.

The newest member of the board did what he said he would do when he was running for office. That is refreshing.

One of the board said there were so many people who had contacted her and wanted the change. Why were so few of them at the meeting?

Let's get this done and go on to what the children need in the classroom.


32 people like this
Posted by kind of bummed
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 14, 2015 at 8:38 am

Why I understand why everyone was so crazy about this. I was so looking forward to my son experiencing his last year in high school with finals before break. Now it will be the same old projects during winter break. Such a bummer. Glad all you elementary parents got your way. As much as you don't believe it - remember your child WILL be in high school some day. Was also excited to finally get an early summer....oh well. I think there could have been a better solution and remember there wasn't going to be an October off next year....


4 people like this
Posted by Meadowlark
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 14, 2015 at 8:50 am

How disappointing to read our children referred to as products. Perhaps this perception explains why so many attempts to improve education fail.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Avignon

on Jan 14, 2015 at 8:55 am

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2 people like this
Posted by more info please
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:01 am

Does this change the start date of school and the vacations that were posted? Is the first day of school still slated to be the 11th of August?


3 people like this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:13 am

This whole issue has been discussed and debated many times, and voted on more than once. Now we're right back where we started! Are we done with this yet?

Time to move on to other issues


12 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:18 am

This was an old school beat down. The arrogance of some board members remains, but those folks will be washed out in the next election. The Superintendents days are numbered. Once you lose trust it is time to start over. If it isn't broke don't fix it. The democratic process has worked. Now let's make all union negotiations public so we can really see how dysfunctional the process is and who is really running our district. The community supports the teachers - not the union. Teachers let your voices be heard with your representatives. Don't be afraid, your community stands behind you. Let's focus on what matters to improve kids learning. This schedule was never a priority for you. Thanks.


3 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:20 am

Congratulations PUSD!! You made the six o'clock news!! Is that what it takes when you dis the majority!?


14 people like this
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:24 am

Thank you board members for making the right decision and returning to the traditional calendar. The decision should have been made last fall - it took the election of Mark Miller to facilitate the change. The district was never able to communicate the reason for starting school the beginning of August. Nor did anyone have the data to show that a change produced positive results.
Parents of high school seniors - I understand you are the ones supporting the calendar change so that your high students can have a true holiday vacation. Do you plan to petition colleges the following year if exams are scheduled following Christmas? Teach your kids to handle stress and live in the real world.
It took a lot of guts last night to overturn the modified light calendar. I'm thankful that the board members listened to the community.


15 people like this
Posted by Ruthann P.
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:36 am

Dear Kind of Bummed,
I want you to know I was against the calendar change & none of my kids are in elementary school, so I am not sure why you think that everyone against it must have kids in elementary school. Personally I am looking forward to my daughter's last year in high school & experiencing a long, fun summer with her. After that its time to be a serious adult...no more long, lazy summers for her. If you think the teachers would not have given any projects during break, just because the semester was going to end before the break..I am afraid you would have been disappointed. I can assure you ..there was still going to be projects due out there.
I have 3 kids in high school, and 2 in middle school and the fact that the semester will still end at the same time, doesnt matter to me...or my kids. What matters is my time with them, those long, lazy, summer days together. Those childhood summers are a small portion of their lives & I want them to enjoy them & soak them up. Before they know it, they are gone.
I hope you & your son enjoy his last, long, lazy summer together...soak up that time with him & you will NEVER, EVER regret it. Take care.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Amador Estates

on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:37 am

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16 people like this
Posted by Desiree
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:38 am

LONG LIVE MARK MILLER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


11 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:45 am

Once again, it's not the calendar, it's the process…
It's nice to see that things are going to be vetted an decided in a public forum with more transparency…
That's what we wanted, and that's what we deserve!


15 people like this
Posted by Majority looses
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:47 am

From the parent survey results, 35% wanted the traditional calendar and 65% wanted some change. How have the 65% voices been heard and listened to with this latest vote?

How will the board now address the 65% who want a modification?

And when will the new dates/calendar be available? Time, energy and work had already been done on the 2015/2016 calendar. The link to the now "old" calendar is web link below.

Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by Formerly Dan from BC
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:51 am

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Calendar issues aside, there is something VERY WRONG with our school district administration and specifically the leadership team.


9 people like this
Posted by Janet
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 14, 2015 at 10:12 am

When my older children went through the Pleasanton School system we started school the Tuesday after Labor Day in September and we got out of school the first week of June. I am sure that there is a way to be able to implement this type schedule and still get in all the "minutes' of class room time that are required. My two younger children had the schedule that kept creeping earlier into August and getting out mid June.
As far as the argument about High School students having projects the "ruin" their Christmas break, I feel that the teachers just need to not assign projects to students over the break. Seems this would help the situation.


13 people like this
Posted by Valley View's mom
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jan 14, 2015 at 10:12 am

I'm with anything that will help my kids to succeed. It is sad that most of the parents that want to keep the regular calendar is because they are worried about their vacations, WHAT ABOUT THE EDUCATION?

Is there any information about the benefits of the calendar change?


18 people like this
Posted by Disappointed but not surprised
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Jan 14, 2015 at 10:19 am

I knew I should have gone last night to support/defend what was ALREADY decided....
This town is TOO MUCH! What a bunch of spoiled, stuck in the mud people.
Colleges DO end their semesters PRIOR to a long break. It's 'smart' if you want higher scores. But the people of Pleasanton are only truly interested in things like sports. The idea of high school students getting internships are for the few and connected. Certainly not the standard. More like a thing of the past.
The school board doesn't have a back bone and will bury this town in expenses. Can't wait to escape before the housing prices drop as a result of stubborn ignorance.


15 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 14, 2015 at 10:23 am

Well now that the board has realized the error of its ways on this issue maybe fixing the BIG mistake they made with Mr Vranish is next! We can only hope before it costs us even more money!


8 people like this
Posted by How much will this NOW cost?
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Jan 14, 2015 at 10:26 am

I want a full accounting of time, $$ and resources for the school board, teachers unions, businesses and families to now shift gears again to yet another calendar for 2015/16!

So - does anyone happen to know when school starts and ends for 2015/2016. Yesterday I knew and had planned for it. This morning - I have no idea.


6 people like this
Posted by Ranger
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 14, 2015 at 10:52 am

This is a good result. We can teach our kids about transparent processes and how one can exhibit flexibility when needed. To Majority looses(?) - what survey? I have two kids in school and have had kids in PUSD for over 15 years and never saw this survey. But I'd willingly respond if offered to take one.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of another community

on Jan 14, 2015 at 10:54 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


3 people like this
Posted by Kind of Bummed
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 14, 2015 at 10:57 am

Thank you Ruthann for your comments. I have actually gotten to experience an early start - mid- August and early finish - late May at other high schools my kids have attended and have to say I definitely prefer it. You are very lucky your kids want to spend that much time with you! My boys aren't quite the same way. Lol. So yes, I could see where you want the maximum time with your daughter! We can only form opinions on our own experiences and since I have been lucky enough to try the different calendars my kids actually really enjoyed having finals before winter break and their high school teachers did not assign homework for the break.


2 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 14, 2015 at 11:06 am

@Valley View's mom -- adversity will help your kids succeed


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood

on Jan 14, 2015 at 12:16 pm

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Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood

on Jan 14, 2015 at 12:19 pm

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8 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 14, 2015 at 12:24 pm

I think the overall decision to wait on the calendar change was wise, however it is in the STUDENTS' best interest to have a modified calendar. It increases student retention and also aligns high school students with a final schedule that doesn't require them to study their entire winter break. Of course increased retention makes my job easier - students on average drop several reading levels over the long summer break. There are several modified calendar options however, and the "modified lite" schedule is not necessarily the best for the community. Glad the community is getting a say, but to those concerned with a long summer break or doing something different than other districts, please keep in mind what is best for the children at the end of the day. It is okay to step up and do something different. It seems like child care facilities would adapt and that wouldn't remain an issue.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Mission Park

on Jan 14, 2015 at 12:24 pm

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Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood

on Jan 14, 2015 at 12:26 pm

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8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Right decision.


3 people like this
Posted by What is the new calendar?
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jan 14, 2015 at 1:22 pm

Can all of those angry parents that insisted on the status quo please gear up again and email the board to get the new school calendar for 2015/16? I would like to know when my children are due back at school in 8 months!!


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood

on Jan 14, 2015 at 1:26 pm

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4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2015 at 1:32 pm

@ What is the new calendar?

Not hard to figure out that it will be wk of August 24th


4 people like this
Posted by MeMe
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 14, 2015 at 1:47 pm

FYI before people start freaking out...the 2014-2015 wasn't set until after March 2014. I know because I looked and even called the district last spring when I was trying to do some advanced planning.

It was very unusual for the modified light calendar to be published so early. Never happened with the traditional calendar.

The calender for 2015-16 won't be published until the unions agree to it so I would suggest emailing the unions to ask when it will be out.


Like this comment
Posted by Me
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2015 at 1:49 pm

@Teacher - your argument contradicts itself
Your claim
"students on average drop several reading levels over the long summer break" which you are I believe attempting to apply over winter break as a proxy.

If students lose retention over a winter break that they have assignments and studying to do, don't you think they would retain less absent those things? The new schedule would no mean a shorter break.

I think you make and argument about assessment - you can better assess what they know in late December in late December.

But isn't education about lifelong learning? Isn't what the student retains permanently the real take away?





1 person likes this
Posted by Sarab
a resident of Hacienda Gardens
on Jan 14, 2015 at 2:05 pm

For many of us who are new to the school district, a comparison of traditional vs lite would have been helpful in this article.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Amador Valley High School

on Jan 14, 2015 at 2:34 pm

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8 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2015 at 2:43 pm

I feel that democracy worked .... Finally. It's a breath of fresh air after parents being ignored (or just talked at with little real listening) for so long. A bit of faith in the system has been restored for me. Plenty of teachers talked about the need to rescind this decision, even if they agreed that a break before Christmas would be helpful. It was so interesting how the process and restoring faith of the community were key things talked about. I, for one, have a lot more confidence going forward. Thanks to the existing board members who stood up for the community in the past and to Mark Miller, for being a man of his word.


7 people like this
Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Thank you to the board for doing what is right. I am so happy!


27 people like this
Posted by An Upset Junior
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 14, 2015 at 4:28 pm

I am a high school student at Amador, and find this ruling to be both hypocritical of past decisions and detrimental to the current high school student population. I realize that although the old school calendar gives families and students more time in the summer, a calendar switch would only decrease time off in the summer by a week and would increase student retention! Parents with students in lower grade levels do not yet understand the importance of having finals before winter break. At least from a student's point of view, it makes complete sense to have finals before a two week break and then have semester tests two weeks later. These high school students are preparing for one of the largest steps of their lives, and I believe that preparing for college takes priority over a family's desire to have time for vacation. We still have the same amount of time off in each calendar and get two weeks off in the winter to be with family and to go on vacation. However, this does not sit well with the minority of voters who voted against the calendar change and the school board listened. I'm glad to be graduating from PUSD next year, though it did give me one of the best educations around. So thanks, I think...


19 people like this
Posted by Mark Miller
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 14, 2015 at 5:08 pm

I know some people are happy and some not with our decision last night. But I want to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge my colleagues on the Board, not because of their vote, but because they courageously and constructively re-focused the issue on improving process and re-building trust. I hope the community noticed this, and that we can work together to come up with a sound process and calendar alternative that, even though everyone won't agree with it, everyone will say it was done the right way, and will be most beneficial for our students, teachers, and families.

I'm equally excited to work with the community on some of the interesting and innovative ideas trustees Laursen and Grant posed, like block schedules, later start times, homework policy review, and grading policy review.

I would also like to acknowledge the work our District employees did and the cooperation of APT in coming up with the new schedule, and which we're asking them to now amend.

As I said last night, I'm humbled and excited to be serving this District and this community. Please contact me with your ideas and opinions at mark_miller@pleasantonusd.net.


6 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Many students spoke at the school board meeting in favor of keeping the traditional colander until a proper process for change was in place. Students of all ages spoke.


10 people like this
Posted by Parent of Elementary Kids
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2015 at 5:10 pm

Upset Junior and others who would like the semester to end at Winter Break - I remember wanting this in HS too and finally enjoying it in college. It makes sense. That goal inherently being at odds with a 10-week summer does not make sense.

A few times the past year the Palo Alto schedule was referenced. It looks like this year they start 8/18, end the 2nd Quarter at Winter Break, and end the school year 6/4 which adds up to the 10-week summer. These two goals can be achieved together.

Web Link.




7 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jan 14, 2015 at 6:59 pm

Thank you PUSD Board for having the courage to stop moving forward with a calendar change that has a negative impact so many for the perceived stress relief of so few. Bravo!!!


2 people like this
Posted by THarris
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2015 at 8:20 pm

Since the traditional calendar will continue the middle schools need to step up and give midterm tests after the break so that students can be prepared for the after break midterms they have in high school. It is difficult for many high school students because they haven't had to prepare like that at the lower grades. And since grades are so critical in high school the schools needs to better prepare them in the earlier years.


15 people like this
Posted by Teacher Too
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 14, 2015 at 8:28 pm

I'm a teacher and a parent in the district. I generally think parents in this district drive policy way too much and have more influence than they are qualified to have. The district bungled this process from the start and now look cowardly backtracking (emboldening entitled parents all the more) but it's probably for the best to temporarily shelve the idea and start over. I do hope, however, they will revisit the idea in a more carefully planned way soon and ultimately make some type of schedule change. I generally agree with the sentiments of "Teacher" above. Most of the professional educators I work with agree that a change to a schedule that ends the first semester at the holidays would be entirely in students best interest. The only real objections I hear from other teachers and administrators are the already mentioned concerns about having kids of their own in nearby districts on a different schedule. I think rescheduling should be a topic approached regionally, not district by district, but frankly need not involve so much feedback from parents. If all of the schools in the region make the change together (as schools did on the peninsula several years back) then most of their concerns would be moot. Daycares would adjust (or lose customers), sports would adjust (or lose customers), the summer internships (only a small pool of students in any case) would not be impacted. This should be about what is best for the students' education, and in that regard a change is in order.


9 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:20 pm

@ Teacher Too
What comes first, the chicken or the egg?
Since the district, in your words, continues to "bungle" simple things like the calendar, what are parents to do?
If PUSD was doing the right things in the right way, I think the parents would back off. But due to all the "bungles" the parents feel the need to step in and fill the void of common sense and quality leadership that we are "entitled" to...


14 people like this
Posted by Annoyed
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:26 pm

@Mark Miller, I didn't attend any of the meetings that led up to this decision and I haven't seen anything reported on the topic, but I do remember your wife attending one of the parent information meetings last year and she was very vocal in her displeasure with the new calendar. Her reason was it would be very disruptive to a summer camp she runs every year and she feared that she would need to cancel it going forward. With this in mind, and upon your election, I wondered if you'd recuse yourself from this vote with the obvious conflict of interest involved. I guess I got my answer tonight. We hear a lot of platitudes about putting students first or transparency, etc, but if preserving your wife's summercamp was the main driving factor of both your candidacy and this decision, then you seem to have failed on both counts.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:52 pm

@annoyed,

If you didn't bother to attend any of the meetings that led up to this decision and you didn't bother to look for anything reported on the topic, then why are you 'annoyed'?


7 people like this
Posted by Unqualified Parent
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jan 15, 2015 at 7:59 am

"Teacher Too"'s quote:

"I generally think parents in this district drive policy way too much and have more influence than they are qualified to have."

How pathetic that a teacher can say parents in Pleasanton are unqualified to drive policy that their tax dollars fund.

Hey "Teacher Too", you work for us remember! Maybe a refresher in Gov. would be helpful. Perhaps a field trip to the State Capital would help... oh wait, those were canceled by the Teachers. Nevermind.

m


3 people like this
Posted by Agree
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 15, 2015 at 8:28 am

I agree with Teacher Too - Have all districts have the same schedule as they have in the past and it works!
At least we have an example of how it was done across the peninsula.


5 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2015 at 8:44 am

@ Teacher Too, regarding your desire to work in a bubble, will you be able to do that without all of the parent support and money the educational community is always requesting?


10 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of The Knolls
on Jan 15, 2015 at 8:52 am

To all those saying you were looking forward to the week vacation during October, you would have been in for a rude awakening when your kids hit high school. My High School children get assignments over EVERY BREAK! Their only true break is summer. There are mandatory (OK, so they say the are optional, but who are we kidding, this is Pleasanton, it's mandatory or your kid is shunned) practices over Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring breaks. We are never able to travel during breaks. As far as finals happening before Christmas, studying for finals is stressful. I absolutely, could not imagine how much more stressful studying for finals could be in the busy month of December. I know they do it in college, but a college Freshman, is a completely different person than a High School Freshman. Summer needs to be as long as possible. It's the only time my family gets to relax, stress free, without one of the kids stressed about a test, project, practice, or teacher.


7 people like this
Posted by Tina
a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 15, 2015 at 8:59 am

Dear Annoyed,

Like Resident, I wonder why you're annoyed if you didn't attend any of the meetings or watched anything reported. However, I can add something about the girl scout camp and Mrs. Miller. I never heard her say the camp would need to be cancelled due to the schedule change. The "camp" she is referring to is not hers, but a girl scout camp that is run by many people and volunteers, as all scout camps are. There are girls from Pleasanton that attend, but many other girls from elsewhere. The camp would be able to operate just the same without them. The question is, how would the girls be without the camp? That is what she feels passionately about and why she gives so much of her time. As far as Mr. Miller recusing himself, I don't know why he would need to since 1. It is not her camp. 2. Their family does not benefit financially from the camp 3. Her daughter is grown so her ability to attend the camp as a volunteer has nothing to do with the calendar change. Lastly, the vote to rescind the calendar was unanimous. I hope that we can all move forward from this and mend our community.


14 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Avila
on Jan 15, 2015 at 9:02 am

Hey, Teacher too... who funded most of the technology in your classroom? Who donates funds so you can make copies for your classroom, and don't you get to use scholastic dollars to buy books? Who is funding teacher's donors choose projects? Who runs school fundraisers, provides food for teacher's luncheons, and comes in to tutor kids falling behind in your classroom? When reading tutors were let go from the schools, who stepped in and volunteered their time... PARENTS! So if the policy is too parent driven, then maybe the parents should back away from our schools and let the teachers do all the work. I can't remember the last time my child's teacher showed up at my job to volunteer time to help me out. I use my lunch breaks, and paid time off to help YOU in your classroom. I use my money to donate to the school computer lab, document readers, books for the library, ceiling mounted projectors, chrome books, iPads, and more. My children even come home with projects that the teacher needs help with; cutting, grading, gluing and so on. So, I'm expected to give up my evenings for you too! Give me a break, appreciate the parents in this town. You want to know why Pleasanton has such a great school system, it's the parents. Students and Parents are spoiled in Pleasanton with our great school. I wish that teachers understood how spoiled they are by the parents in their community.


12 people like this
Posted by Simple Solution
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 15, 2015 at 9:29 am

The simple win/win solution to the calendar issue is to start at the traditional time and end the semester with finals before Christmas. All that needs to be done is adjust the length of the semester. The first semester will be slightly shorter than the second semester. This is done throughout the country with no issue. What this will require is for teachers to slightly modify their curriculum so that they will move some of the previous subject matter from the first semester into the second semester. The elephant in the room is that this simple task will require teachers to prepare new final exams - which is now a union issue because for some reason no one is willing to do that. We really need to have full transparency in this district and make all union negotiations public. Then you will have a real appreciation for the dynamics and hidden agendas that many are not brave enough to address.


9 people like this
Posted by Still Annoyed
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 15, 2015 at 10:37 am

@Tina and @Resident. Of course you're right about me not attending - it's on me for that. Just as it's on a lot of us in the silent majority or apathetic majority. I still believe there is a very passionate minority fighting this, despite all the claims of surveys and the rest. The only people who responded to the surveys were either passionately against or moderately for the change, so the sampling is skewed. I believe the largest group of parents fall into the 'eh, whatever' camp. I also see a divide between parents with high school students who would like to see their kids take finals before winter break vs. elementary school parents who don't see the need for that yet.

As for the camp, I can only pass on what I heard her say herself at the parent meeting - that she herself claimed to "run a summer camp for girls". She didn't say attend or help out with or take part in, she said that she runs it. She then spent several minutes discussing how the new schedule will force her to either cancel the camp or drastically cut it back. In fact, a large chunk of the meeting was spent discussing this matter with the moderator. Reasonable conclusions were jumped to when I saw her husband suddenly decide to run for the board. Thank you for clarifying the matter for me.

Regardless, it is obvious that the main goal of Mr. Miller's candidacy to the board was to rollback this change and now that he has succeeded, my hope is that he won't phone it in the rest of the way...


7 people like this
Posted by windup
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2015 at 10:40 am

Nothing winds up the moms in Pleasanton like a blog about school vacation.


10 people like this
Posted by Wow
a resident of California Somerset
on Jan 15, 2015 at 10:40 am

"Parent"...wow your post was so disgusting to read. As a teacher in this district, I personally benefit from maybe 1-2 things that you mentioned on your list so making a general statement like you did was completely inappropriate and incorrect. What are "scholastic dollars"? Where do I get some of those? The technology in my classroom was purchased by ME and MY paycheck. My donor's choose projects DIDN'T get funded this year. A ceiling mounted projector? Holy smokes. That sounds pretty cool. I don't know of one teacher on my campus that has that.

I don't think "Teacher too" isn't appreciative of the parents in this district, many of whom are AMAZING! Are you asking for some sort of thank you? Is that why you put that giant list out there? I can assure you that not every teacher in this district benefits from parent involvement or gets even HALf the stuff you mentioned.

THANK YOU to the amazing parents out there in this community. I appreciate the fact that you help and give.

The calendar change is SO beneficial for high school students. Parents please understand that your kids will be in high school someday and could greatly benefit from having finals be before Christmas break. This is about the students and what is best for them. I don't know a single teacher on my campus that wasn't thinking about their students when they decided which calendar would be best.


7 people like this
Posted by another parent
a resident of Avila
on Jan 15, 2015 at 11:25 am

so Still Annoyed... I want to shed some logic to your post saying:

"Reasonable conclusions were jumped to when I saw her husband suddenly decide to run for the board. Thank you for clarifying the matter for me."

you do realize that is the entire basis for the foundation of our government right? I mean. lets say you are right (which I don't think is the case here) and MR Miller did run so that he could sway the vote the way he wanted. Welcome to American politics, glad you decided to join the party, 250 years late.

Maybe Mr miller did want change so rather than posting on a blog, he ran for office, spent his own money and time (like all candidates do) and put his money where his moth is so to speak.

If you feel so strongly, maybe you should run for a seat on the board and affect the outcome rather just complain about it.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Mission Park

on Jan 15, 2015 at 11:57 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


4 people like this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 15, 2015 at 1:50 pm

7291 views and 71 comments - since yesterday!!
This has really touched a nerve with a lot of folks


1 person likes this
Posted by Me
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2015 at 5:43 pm

@An Upset Junior -- please make a thought out and meaningful argument that supports increased student retention. I have heard none. There maybe better test scores by assessing prior to the retention loss, but increased retention, I think not. I think you will have a much easier time arguing that their is decreased student retention if any change.

To the Teacher's that are claiming increased retention -- please make a thought out and meaningful argument that supports increased student retention. I have heard none.

The schedule change could therefore only benefit students in two ways
* Higher scores for assessing prior to the retention loss
* Freedom to enjoy a freer break (and probably contributing to retention loss)
The downside is the reduction of some individual challenges and the resulting character growth.


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Posted by Me
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2015 at 5:45 pm

@ the grammar police - I know after reading my finished post "My retention loss is showing"


4 people like this
Posted by Why not a new survey with 2 options before vote??
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Jan 15, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Why didn't the board put together a survey (could have used surveymonkey and taken an hour or less of admin) to survey the parents with the 2 existing options? Traditional and Modified Lite. The argument that only 18% favored the modified lite is not valid. The 35% that favored Traditional is the valid stat.

No doubt the original survey was poorly written. I have several couple friends that split their vote between modified lite and something even more "drastic" in the survey. They wanted to show that some change was favored and could go for several different variations.

Before the trustee meeting there were urgent emails from the traditional calendar side saying that trustees were getting MORE emails for modified lite!

Clear data on public sentiment was just a survey away. It's a shame that trustees couldn't figure that out.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2015 at 7:26 pm

I would argue that the most valid stat was the combined traditional and early start/finish results - the options that had the least possible impact to summer. These two groups totaled 55% of the vote. To me it shows that parents want to preserve as much of August as possible.

I think parents are open to modification but the modified lite calendar isn't it. I don't want the new process limited to just these two options. There are other ways to achieve finals before winter break without taking away 2/3 weeks of August. Unfortunately, that suggestion always fell on deaf ears. I hope the District will now be instructed to look at other options.


8 people like this
Posted by Erin
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2015 at 7:50 pm

I think the many people who supported the calendar change were quiet because things were going fine and there was no reason to write to the board or speak at the board meetings. It seems like the vocal minority (those who voted only for traditional) complained loudly enough that they got their way, which is really fine. I can be flexible and adapt, which seemed to be the attitude of most that I talked to. I do think it's important for finals to finish before the holiday break. I also think it would be lovely to get a week off. I hope they do re-look at the calendar and maybe start just a bit earlier to achieve starting before the break. Since the seed has been planted, I think most people would love a week off, maybe in February, as many districts call "ski week".

So, 9 week summer, start a week earlier so finals finish before the break. Week off in February for family vacations. yes?


6 people like this
Posted by MeMe
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 15, 2015 at 7:52 pm

It saddens me, that someone claiming to be a teacher, has said this on this form:

"I generally think parents in this district drive policy way too much and have more influence than they are qualified to have."

Teachers have our children for at most 180 - 6 hour days. That's why I don't sweat it when my kid has a crappy teacher. It won't matter much in the big scheme of things. I have my children for a life time. As a parent, I will take care of the deficiencies in the education my child receives at school.

There seems to be a undercurrent belief in this district that once a child is dropped off at the school gate, that parents should have no further comment on what occurs. Sorry that's not how it works.

I hope parents in this community continue to speak up and have their voices heard, on this matter as well as others. If parents stop being involved in their children's education then the test scores in Pleasanton will plummet. IMO, the difference between a good school district and a bad school district the value PARENTS put on a good education.


5 people like this
Posted by L
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2015 at 8:15 pm

I am a teacher in a nearby district, and I follow this forum because I own property in Pleasanton and I'm curious about what goes on.

Anyway, many of the high school students I teach are in favor of ending the semester before winter break. If students are enrolled in semester-long classes, they would be totally done by the break - so no possibility for projects, at least in those classes. Furthermore, having balanced semesters is actually pretty important when you teach semester classes. How can you adequately cover the material for both semesters if one of those semesters is a couple weeks shorter? So in order to implement a schedule like this, you'd have to start a little earlier in August, yes, but you'd be finished earlier too! Ending 1st semester at the break just makes so much more sense than the current calendar.

Coming back to school that first week in January is always tough because you have to go back a bit and re-cover material from December. Finals before break would solve that issue quite nicely.

Some of the arguments have been weird regarding this schedule change. It's too hot in August to be in school that early (it's hot here through October...), we miss out on summer vacations (take your vacation a couple weeks earlier in the summer maybe?), etc. I understand a lot of you were upset about the process, which I get. My district has been looking at this calendar change too (at least casually) so don't be surprised if this comes up again in the future.


1 person likes this
Posted by LanceM
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2015 at 9:30 pm

"Hey, Teacher too... who funded most of the technology in your classroom?" - There's technology in the classrooms????? Certainly not at the high schools or middle schools.


6 people like this
Posted by LanceM
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2015 at 9:33 pm

"I generally think parents in this district drive policy way too much" I believe what they mean is that uninformed parents drive policy. They act on their heart without bothering to look into the facts. I don't know if this is true or not, but from what I have seen in school board meetings, I would say it certainly appears that way on the surface. I don't think I heard one argument against changing the calendar that wasn't a personal issue.


5 people like this
Posted by LanceM
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2015 at 9:39 pm

I certainly have lost faith in all of the School Board. Why was the decision made in the first place to change the calendar. I assumed that the school board did their homework, gathered evidence and research, discussed and came up with a decision. Apparently that is not the case because if it was the case there would be no reason to rescind it. If the calendar change was in the best interest of the district when first approved, what changed? The only thing I can conclude now is that the decisions the school board make are simply arbitrary. We elect a school board to makes the best and tough decisions that may not be the most popular. Apparently though our current school board only cares about not getting complaints. What other decisions are made simply because the board receives a few phone calls and emails? This is what bothers me.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2015 at 10:11 pm

Fact is, there aren't any hard facts, data or evidence to support a calendar change. There is as much research against finals before winter break as there is for it. There is no discernible difference in achievement results. All of this has been acknowledged by the Board and the District. Without data, this is actually about opinion and that opinion will differ depending on who you talk to.


6 people like this
Posted by Working parent
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jan 15, 2015 at 10:36 pm

You are a genius Working Parent of Elem Kids.! If they had offered up the exact Palo Alto proposal, I bet there would be a lot less complaints. Let's see, Palo Alto has 6 days off and 1minimum day during the first semester. start Aug 17 (in 2015). Let's look at Pleasanton's proposal for 2016, hmm....14 days off and 5 minimum Days. The difference is quite obvious. My childcare headaches would be a lot less as well. If the committee is reading this, I vote for the Palo Alto schedule. Finish at Xmas to help the high schoolers and save our summers as well. Just cut out the middle stuff. Case closed! (This was a lot cheaper than paying for an independent facilitator too!)


7 people like this
Posted by Parent of 3
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 16, 2015 at 10:58 am

I was one of those parents who could take or leave the new calendar option. I went to the informational meetings and I voted on the survey sent out to the families. I really don't care when school begins or ends, but I care, very much about the semester ending at winter break. Now that the new calendar has been rescinded, I feel for the high school students, especially those in the higher grades who won't have the luxury of a real winter break. They won't be able to completely shut down and re-energize. Tests, projects and, most likely, some serious final exam worries will constantly be lingering in their thoughts during the 14 day break. This is the one and only reason my surveys favored the early start/finish calendar option.

I will be sending my concerns via email to the board members. They need to attend to this matter sooner rather than later and find a way to end the first semester at Winter Break.

@ Teacher Too: Your statement about parents driving policy and having too much influence is very general, only a small minority of very vocal parents are the squeaky wheel getting the oil.

@ Wow: Thank you for the appreciation you show parents who volunteer:)

I work full time and volunteer in my kids classes and I have always felt appreciated by the amazing teachers that have educated my kids. But, my main priority for working in the class isn't to help the teacher, it's to hang out with my child and to watch them in this awesome educational environment! It's been an amazing experience and I'm appreciative to the teachers for letting me into their classes.


8 people like this
Posted by What is a community involved process?
a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 16, 2015 at 1:04 pm

I'm still not sure where people get the idea that there was no community input. The 3 web links below show:

** a resource page filled with research, upcoming meetings to discuss the issue, a feedback alias, ways to give input
** community meetings in March 2014 to hear about the proposal and ask questions
** a presentation to the board about survey results to teachers and staff.

After that:
** parents were surveyed (see web link)
** and the issue was voted on 2 times (June and September) with comments heard in the board meetings.

What exactly will be a more inclusive process??

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link


9 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 16, 2015 at 3:36 pm

@ What is a community involved process?
Your entire post is accurate right up until the time the vote was taken…
The survey and the entire process you refer to included 5 options. Minutes before the vote was taken, Ahmadi informed the board they would only be a able to consider Two Options: Traditional, or Modified Lite.
Then the staff went on with some BS song and dance, and three of the Board members fell for it.
THAT is what outraged the parents and others! Deceit of the staff, and the lack of back-bone by board members to tell them to go back to the drawing board!
It wasn't the calendar… It was the process and what the process exposed...


10 people like this
Posted by Birdland Parent
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 17, 2015 at 12:39 am

I voted for Mark Miller but he and the other Board members will NEVER receive another vote from me.
Parents who claim they were not included in the process are flat out lying or just clueless. I received several emails in advance, I looked at the calendar options online, and voted for my choice - Modified Lite. The modified calendar passed but then a very vocal minority and Mark Miller forced the board's hand to rescind it. I agree that our district looks indecisive, unwilling to change and progress, and ridiculous.
Can anyone tell me why it matters if our calendar does not align with other districts?
And I am the only one who finds it somewhat strange and misguided that there are parents who are so attached to the "long, lazy, hazy days of summer" that they are unwilling to change to better meet the needs of high school students?
My guess is that PUSD and the Board will stick their heads back in the sand and a couple years down the road when Dublin or San Ramon moves to change the school calendar, then Pleasanton will be scrambling to catch up rather than moving forward with decisive action now.


13 people like this
Posted by Amador Valley Student
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 17, 2015 at 9:19 am

SOOOO DISAPOINTED!!!
I am a student at AMADOR and I really like the modified schedule!!!!
The new schedule would benefit so many students and alleviate some of the stresses of school!!
With this new schedule, we would have FINALS BEFORE WINTER BREAK!!! Hallelujah for all the students!
It would give us time to ACTUALLY RELAX AND ENJOY winter break without having to worry about homework, projects, and studying for finals.
Also, many schools in the Bay Area, have finals before break and it's hard to see our friends from other schools actually get to relax when we are sitting at home and slaving away at homework.
It's just not fair:( please reconsider the new schedule!
It will make so many students happy!!:)


2 people like this
Posted by Pleas Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2015 at 10:20 am

Pleas Parent is a registered user.

Total calendar days 93
Total instructional days 74.5 (grades 1-5) 76.5 for grades above 5th

There is a better way to relieve the “stress” of high school students IF the only answer is to end the semester before Christmas break….which I’m not convinced is the silver bullet it’s being made out to be to the student stress problem. I believe it goes far deeper than a calendar change which is being lost in this whole calendar debate and frankly only addresses a very small population when the “solution” impacts so many others.


4 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 17, 2015 at 11:43 am

Here's the answer…
Finals before break, but no silly week off in October…
Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by so frustrated!
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 17, 2015 at 11:02 pm

The final calendar will be what the union wants- Janice Clark is the current rep of the teachers. Community - great ideas!! - but - as the District said in the most recent board meeting - Pleasanton only gets what APT agrees to put forward. Hopefully, everyone will do a better job of communicating their thoughts about what is needed for the next calendar in a more timely way.


6 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2015 at 12:52 am

Seems to me the experts on delivering content and scheduling would be the teachers, yet we cant seem to get past calling them names and acting as if they are not to be trusted. And this coming from a board member who moved to not even have them a part of the process. Now that same board member has moved the conversation to a group of 5 on Facebook. You want inclusive? You want all voices heard? You complain about the process and then propose these ideas instead?

There was a day when a teacher was respected for their professionalism. Reading these threads and how we talk about our teachers, firemen, policemen, I am in awe of what we have become and what we have chosen to show the rest of the world online.


7 people like this
Posted by Sidnee
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Jan 18, 2015 at 5:09 pm

I followed this process from when I first heard about it. PUSD, in my opinion and in the opinion of those who work there that i talked to, already had their mind made up on which version they wanted and it was obvious in the meetings I attended that it was trying to sway in that direction. That being said, the district dropped the ball on how they informed families and on what they promised to do. At a parent meeting, they promised to post questions parents and staff had on the website--and I never saw any of that. At the May board meeting(which I attended), where they were supposed to vote on a calendar, the board hesitated and started talking about getting parent input--that hadn't happened up to that point. The superintendent told the board that at some point you have to stop gathering information and make a decision. That's where the survey came from--and it was done hastily as I knew several families who had no idea about it when it came out. This wasn't well thought out and that is where we have ended up--back to square 1. This was NOT the result of the unions complaining--the district survey of staff showed interest in possibly changing the calendar. This is the result of PUSD not handling a new idea in the correct way. They botched how they handled the early start/late start decision--parents received a note in report card envelopes on the last day of school and people having no idea that was something that the board voted on. One of the things that bothered me the most was how people kept on saying how much pressure high school students were under with workload. If this was truly why PUSD wanted to change the calendar, shouldn't they be looking at the root cause of this stress, instead of just shifting the stress a few weeks ahead in the school year? This complacency on how hard we are stressing our children--with so much homework and projects--is disturbing.


3 people like this
Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2015 at 6:47 pm

Thank you Mark Miller for spearheading this vote! I am not fundamentally against change. However:
1) The parents were not consulted, the survey was very poorly presented (did not really ask the right questions), and the "community meetings" were really designed only for parents to vent, not for them to actually have any input to the decisions.
2) Choices that preserve the overlap of PUSD's summer with that of most other districts, camps and regional summer programs, were not discussed. As other posters above have mentioned, there are solutions that keep summer more or less in place AND move finals to December. The main objection was to shifting of the summer calendar, not to changing the school calendar. A well designed survey would have revealed this, saving a lot of time and trouble.
3)December finals are not a magic solution! December will be extra-stressful, especially for seniors who are also completing college applications. May finals will ALSO be extra-stressful as they would overlap with AP testing. As for no work during the winter break, the AP teachers will absolutely assign pre-work. And my high schoolers still sleep in and relax during the holidays despite the looming January finals!!

And then there are other changes that would be worth pursuing.... how about a 7 period day so our high schoolers can actually take electives? Many districts (Palo Alto, Acalanes) divide the day into 7 periods. This is not a crazy notion, and would provide much more choice and opportunity than this "middle college" thing they are proposing.


7 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2015 at 8:54 pm

I agree with 'reasonable' that December finals is just a date shift of the stressful period. Here's a few extracts from the student newsletter of Saratoga High School, Los Gatos.

Finals before break not worth the extra stress
January 29, 2012 — by Sierra Smith and Ashley Tang

"With memories of winter break and first semester finals fading fast, many students have forgotten the stress that plagued them as they crammed before each day of finals. The break was not as stress-free as it was purported to be, and added an even more frantic week before it."

"The unofficial “dead week” that usually precedes finals week was noticeably absent. Students were forced to study for chapter tests with little time left over to study for finals."

"Some students say that not having break before finals didn’t affect them very much because they typically hadn’t studied over the break in previous years. But what about the students who did study and appreciated the extra time to do so?

With two weeks of winter break before finals, students could spend a week relaxing and a week getting a head start on finals. This would cut down the stress that finals bring and many of those late-night coffee runs and frantic cram sessions could have been avoided."

"By moving finals before break this year, the administration hoped to give students a stress-free break. Unfortunately, the period before the break became extremely stressful and hindered the holiday plans. The schedule that was intended to bring more cheer to the holiday break ended up increasing stress and lowering spirits."


9 people like this
Posted by Frustrated parent
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 20, 2015 at 8:58 am

It's frustrating that the board rescinded the vote based on a small contingent of out-of-touch parents who did not bother to participate in public meetings on the topic when they were held last year and then cried "but no one told us" after the vote. After a discouraging year with the board, the lack of spine on this decision was another disappointment. To think the board will satisfy everyone at a time when too many believe the world revolves around them is absurd. To think 'my Susie will miss out" because summer programs won't change their dates to coincide with the district calendar is short sighted. To think a different calendar won't come with a few growing pains is also not realistic. Change is harder for some than others. But sticking with the status quo because it's always been that way is never a reason to avoid change. Kids are resilient and will adapt. It's too bad their parents will not.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anna
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 20, 2015 at 10:08 am

So Frustrated Parent, seriously, NONE of the way the original process was handled bothers you? The survey that featured FIVE options rather than just the TWO that were actually on the table? Ahmadi lying by omission by not disclosing the former to THE BOARD (also known as her BOSSES)? If not, there's something wrong with YOU, not the parents who wanted the calendar rescinded.


5 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 20, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Outside of the communications disaster, the back-room deal between the union and administration, and a Board either deliberately or purposely kept out of the loop, is a problem with a completing set of interests. High school = get exams done before the holidays, elementary school is more about summer break, and the teachers (outside the PR spin of the union) have to deal with getting kids back up to speed after a long break. There isn't a one-size fits all solution to the question. What has made the problem worse is the lack of clear and effective communication (like so many issues), trust in the people who are supposed to be 'experts' and those same people actually conducting themselves/reaching decisions in a well-thought out, researched, deliberate process. Instead, it's been a process that has been manipulated, twisted, and spun by people who profess to be working in the best interest of our children's education. Time for change.


1 person likes this
Posted by Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 1, 2015 at 1:54 am

I feel so sad for the high school students in our community.They have to suffer through the decision made by people who will get together with their families and loved ones to enjoy the Christmas break, yet leaving the high schoolers to worry about their school works and finals at the same time. This decision truly reflects the priority of this community or the outspoken individuals. It appears that 1 week of summertime is so much more important than a true relaxing holiday break that all the high schoolers and their families may have. Is this really the truth behind the second voting? Even if the original voting process was not conducted appropriately, how can you fault the result if it makes sense? What happened to all the things we hope to teach our children 1. Embrasse the change and adapt 2. honesty and transparency 3. Think of others and the greater good of a community/organization. I don't have any children in Pleasanton high schools. But I can see their pain through these postings. I truly hope the district will final a better calendar with the traditional one as soon as possible. Palo Alto model seems to be very reasonable.


2 people like this
Posted by PUSDParent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2015 at 10:20 pm

I believe there is distrust for our school district that is created very purposefully by our school board. I thought Mr Miller was elected to end the calendar change, yet at the last meeting he is now saying we need to get going the process so that we can follow San Ramon's lead. Web Link Watch for yourself at 36:00.

Im not surprised by the games being played three of the members of this board, but I'm curious as to where all the outrage is now? How silent the anti calendar vast majority is now? Seems there is many hidden motives behind this boards actions.


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