District releases tentative start, end dates for 2015-16 school year

Classes will start Aug. 25 for school year that ends June 10, 2016

The Pleasanton school district released an update regarding the 2015-16 instructional calendar on its website Monday.

The Association of Pleasanton Teachers (APT) and district staff have tentatively agreed on a revised calendar for the 2015-16 school year -- with students starting on Aug. 25 and ending June 10, 2016.

"We anticipate that the detailed 2015-16 Instructional Calendar with all relevant school year dates will be brought to the February 24 board meeting for approval," said Monday's announcement.

The Pleasanton school board unanimously voted Jan. 13 to revert back to the traditional calendar.

In addition, the board directed staff to go back to bargaining units to re-do the process of looking at an alternative calendar -- which will include more input from parents, students and teachers.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story listed an incorrect date for the upcoming school board meeting on the calendar issue.

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4 people like this
Posted by Choices
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 4, 2015 at 9:05 am

The article says "the board directed staff to go bak to bargaining units to re-do the process of looking at an alternative calendar--" what about including the traditional calendar or is the board and staff trying to make sure we do not have a vote to keep what a lot of parents, students and teachers want.

Please make sure that your "surveys" "emails", etc include the traditional calendar.

22 people like this
Posted by disappointed parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 4, 2015 at 9:18 am

@ choices. ALL of the parents I have talked to do want a change with finals before December so obviously we are talking to different people. It was another case of squeaky wheel got the oil. If you look at the survey the Amador students took (1,000 kids) you will see over 65% would rather start early with finals in December.

If the district would have just started school a week earlier and didn't have the October week off and got rid of some of the other days off 1st semester, with finals in December I don't think many would have even cared. The problem was they went too far.

And guess what, San Ramon Valley School District sent out a survey last week to its parents about changing the calendar to have finals before December. Our district had the chance to be a leader not a follower and now they will sit on their hands and let the other districts take the lead. Way to go! The only thing you can count on PUSD to do is teach other districts what not to do!

15 people like this
Posted by Disappointed again
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 4, 2015 at 10:01 am

I completely agree with disappointed parent. PUSD had the opportunity to be a frontrunner to positive change that makes good sense and instead they backed down again to appease a very small, noisy group of parents who seem overly attached to some idealized notion of summer.
Is there any recourse at this point to try to get the calendar changed so that finals occur before winter break?

1 person likes this
Posted by Choices
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 4, 2015 at 10:30 am

@Disappointed parent: I agree with you on a lot of your points - one week of change and not having all the other days off could work.

I do not understand why all of the school districts can't have uniform days off.

I understand that we were the same as Livermore and that they had their finals before Christmas and that they are on a tri-semester. Maybe we should look at that. I would like the board to do some comparisons with other districts in the areas close to us that we participate in sports, etc.

10 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Valley
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 4, 2015 at 12:34 pm

I believe it's the best idea ever to have our High School students complete finals before the December/January break. Also, exclude any additional breaks in the first half of the school year (i.e. a proposed October break) and start school near the end of August and we're all set. This will be what I push for during community meetings, surveys, etc.

5 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 4, 2015 at 12:58 pm

The problem boils down to conflicting points of view and priorities - are the high schools the priority with their need to finish finals before the Christmas break? Or is it the need to keep a long summer break in place for the elementary schools? (which with camps, vacation plans, etc. seems to be the main argument.) Elementary teachers are concerned about the number of weeks it seems to take for prior year review at the start of the school year. No one will win in this unless the administration (who has a community trust issue) adequately provides the pro's and con's of each schedule backed with relevant facts and goes through a transparent process that seeks input from the public and teachers (not the leadership of the teachers union). They then need to make a decision based on EDUCATIONAL grounds and communicate that to the community. There will be people who are ticked off (that's also a byproduct of the process) but I would like to better understand the opinions of the teachers (again, without the union filter) as they are the ones in the trenches and dealing with student educational challenges, including those that will be created by a calendar change.

7 people like this
Posted by Disappointed again
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 4, 2015 at 1:44 pm

"I do not understand why all of the school districts can't have uniform days off."

Choicecs, can you help me understand the value of uniform days off between districts? Frankly, I'd love to have days off that the surrounding schools do NOT. Maybe you could actually go to a movie or something like that and not have every kid in the Tri-Valley there with you.

Also, how many camps are held in the last week or two before school starts? Maybe longer camps are still running in those weeks, but my kids have never attended a camp in the last two weeks of summer nor have we gone on vacation right then because we had the other 8+ weeks of summer for that!

Finally, getting out earlier than other schools in the area gives Pleasanton high schoolers a jump on summer jobs.

I just fail to see the downside of this scenario.

12 people like this
Posted by L
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Disappointed again: Uniform days off between districts is really helpful for teachers whose children attend schools in other neighboring districts, which is something that applies to a lot of them.

4 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Siena
on Feb 4, 2015 at 5:10 pm

The calendar change is all about high school children semester exams. Then why not just change the calendar for high school children?
I know what I am talking about. I have a senior and a 4th grader at home. There are some days off for high school kids which are not off for Elementary kids. And it works just fine for everybody. And Colleges start and end on different dates. Its impossible to align all dates for all children. We have to do what is best for the children.
Having a shorter vacation for elementary and middle school children is not at all necessary.
High school kids are independent to certain extant. They can stay home alone and ride to school on their own (including freshmen and sophomores) My son takes Wheels bus to school, so I see why not change the calendar only for high school children?
Now what happens to summer jobs for teens, the internships, the family time,and the long relaxing summer - Well, you can't have'em all. Do you want to be stress free now or later - is the only question that needs to be answered.
personally I don't support early start and early end calendar. My son did just fine when he had semester exams in January, even with holiday celebrations and ski trips. I feel it takes the pressure off. But only kids can be the judge of that.

5 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 4, 2015 at 10:04 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

A uniform calendar, K-12, is probably easier for most families, especially if they want to take advantage of time off to travel or for whatever other family plans they might like to make (perhaps a high school student caring for a younger sibling in a two income or single parent household on a staff development day, for example). A mid-August start, no time off in October, fewer other days off in first semester, and all testing before the winter break works well. It is done successfully in many Bay Area districts already. In this regard, there is no compelling reason to try to lay claim to a unique calendar (early August start) just for uniqueness's sake.

8 people like this
Posted by enough
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 4, 2015 at 10:35 pm

10 weeks off for elementary school is way way too long. I worked at a elementary & middle school. When the kids come back to school you spend most of the first month or two, going over what they have forgotten over the summer! If they were to have shorter summers then there's a chance they will not forget so much, then we do not have to repeat so much and can teach them new material sooner.

All for helping the High school students with their exams too. Not all kids cope with pressure of exams & can vacation just before them....wouldn't it be great if all kids were the same. Well guess what? They are NOT & all cope with different situations differently. Great that some kids can go skiing & not worry about exams & perform well in them. But there are also the kids that need to study but still have a lower performance in exams. For these kids knowing that they will truly have a vacation/rest over the xmas would be such a relief for them. No brainer really.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood

on Feb 5, 2015 at 9:52 am

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

1 person likes this
Posted by Previously dissappointed parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2015 at 10:16 am

@Disappointed parent - you clearly did not talk to me or anyone I know - I'm so very glad we are returning to the traditional structure

6 people like this
Posted by Disappointed again
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 5, 2015 at 10:21 am

So can anyone comment on possible recourse for having the calendar altered for 2015-2016 to have finals before winter break?
Can we petition? Just email the board? Attend the board meeting on 2/24?
I think the parents who want this change need to speak up as loudly as the squeaky wheels and not give up on this one.

5 people like this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 5, 2015 at 10:44 am

Either way it goes, there will be a sizeable group that will be disappointed for one reason or another.
Personally I have one kid who graduated from Foothill in 2013 and another one in Hart right now, and I really don't see what all the fuss is about one way or the other. Is shaving off a couple of weeks of summer really going to make a big difference in retention? Some, I'm sure, but not much.
Also, it would make sense to have the winter term come to a finish before the break but my kids normally don't have much to do during that time off so again, no big deal.
My kids have done fine under the current schedule, and I'm sure would do fine under the proposed schedule also (whatever that turns out to be).

Just my 2 cents

2 people like this
Posted by Joe Sally Bob Sue
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2015 at 6:13 pm

To those who are writing, ". . . and got rid of some of the other days off 1st semester" and "fewer other days off in first semester", let's take a look at the first semester of 2014:
-School started Monday, August 25th
-The first day off was Labor Day (have to take that day off)
-No days off the rest of September and October
-Veteran's Day was November 11th (have to take that one off). There was also a staff development day - a no student day - on Monday, November 10th. This is because when Vet's Day lands on Tuesday or Thursday, many families take the Monday or Friday off, making a four-day weekend for their family, lowering the ADA (Average Daily Attendance, which means money for the district) significantly for that day, so the staff works that day in two out of every seven calendars to help with funding. Trust me, most teachers would rather take the day off with the kids.
-Friday November 21st was a conference day for teachers and a non-student day for elementary, but not secondary, students.
-Thanksgiving week is completely off, for ADA reasons (see above). Most districts have this whole week off.

So please tell me where all these "other days" in the Fall semester come from? If kids were at school on November 10th, then school would have started on Tuesday. There are simply not that many days, unless you want your kids to go to school Thanksgiving week, and not many people want that.

22 people like this
Posted by Elections Matter
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 5, 2015 at 6:27 pm

It wasn't a small, vocal group that opposed the change. Miller was elected on this issue and Bowser came in last because the MAJORITY of voters were fed up with being ignored. Laursen made it but with 4,000 less votes than she got in 2010.

23 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 6, 2015 at 8:57 am

"Fed Up" -

Bowser came in last and Mark won because voters were tired of a noncommunicative Board and Superintendent. The calendar change was a small part of that; Jon Vranesh was a part of that.

There were a lot of things that led to the election results; not just the calendar change.

I wasn't ignored on the calendar change. I wanted early start and early release. You know what? So did lots of people I know. It's not about being ignored.

The PROBLEM is that, like the Vranesh fiasco, staggered K-3 start, etc... there was little to no communication with the parents and no clearly communicated plan besides a reactionary one.

I want a proactive Board who holds the superintendent accountable for being proactive and for clearly communicating to the community.

That's why the election turned out the way it did.

Flip-flopping on the calendar for this year is ridiculous. But Mark made a campaign promise and held to it. At least there's that.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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