School board approves 2015-16 calendar

Trustees direct staff to begin looking at new calendar change process

The Pleasanton school board approved the dates for the 2015-16 instructional calendar Tuesday evening, with a start date of Aug. 25 and end date of June 10, 2016.

Trustee Chris Grant reminded the board that they made a commitment to "collectively develop" calendar option that finish the first semester before winter break.

In response, trustees directed district staff to begin talks with bargaining units about a new process for a calendar change -- possibly for the 2016-17 school year.

Pleasanton schools superintendent Parvin Ahmadi said staff will aim to bring a process and timeline to the school board for input sometime in March or April.

During a Jan. 13 school board meeting, trustees voted unanimously to revert back to the traditional calendar after Mark Miller requested Dec. 9 that the calendar item be put on a future agenda for discussion and possible action.

The former 2015-16 calendar, following the modified lite format, had school starting Aug. 11 and ending May 27, 2016.

In other business:

* Trustees received an update from staff about the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) -- which will be given to third through eighth graders and high school juniors.

According to staff reports, the SBAC will be given to students in 3-8 sometime between March 10 through June 5. High schools juniors will take the assessment test sometime between April 23 through June 5.

The SBAC will include a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT), a performance task and a classroom activity -- all three will assess students in English language arts and mathematics.

Staff also included how the district has been preparing for the test this school year, which includes making sure school sites have all the proper technology equipment, administering training/practice tests and benchmark assessments.

In addition, parents of 11th graders are invited to attend a parent forum on March 9 about the Early Assessment Program, a part of the SBAC for high school juniors.

The forum will include speakers from the Alameda County Office of Education and Cal State East Bay.

The event will talk place at Pleasanton Middle School's multi-use room from 6:30-8 p.m.

* Five students were recognized for the community character trait of honesty during the recognition session: David Zhou, Jackson Chandler, Adelric Low, Hope Bergmark and Andrew Harper.

The next school board meeting is scheduled on March 10 at 7 p.m. in the district's boardroom, 4665 Bernal Avenue.

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2 people like this
Posted by Family time
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2015 at 8:55 am

It's a shame to what happen with the calendar issues. I hope that the board can recognize that this affects families and effects outside activities for children whether it be summer camps or sports or even visiting grandma. Going to in the future I hope that we can also align ourselves with surrounding communities as many of us have families in these communities and to been able to spend time together during holidays is a joy for the children and shouldn't be forgotten.

8 people like this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 25, 2015 at 9:15 am

Oh God, not another discussion about the school calendar again!

18 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 25, 2015 at 10:29 am

The Palo Alto school calendar (one of the best schools in the bay area) is in the attached link. First day of school: August 17, 2015. Last day of school: June 2, 2016. We were more aligned with the modified lite calednar rather than reverting back to where we are today. Shame on the board for not standing firm.

Web Link

6 people like this
Posted by happy camper
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 25, 2015 at 3:06 pm

We are happy with the board's decision -- it was the right thing to do. I know many teachers were very happy with the decision as well. Moving forward looks much brighter.

3 people like this
Posted by caywen
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 25, 2015 at 3:15 pm

caywen is a registered user.

When I grew up in MD, school started first week of Sep to first or second week of June. Not that different from this calendar. I don't remember somehow being scarred by this. In fact, I remember being quite happy. But I guess if some parents think this should be scarring, maybe I'm just totally screwed up inside and not know it.

2 people like this
Posted by Agree with wanted
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2015 at 4:38 pm

I agree with "happy camper" and "caywen"

60 years ago - California schools did not start until the first week in September and were out the first or second week in June. It certainly hurt the scholastic ability of the students - in fact the SAT scores were higher.

Our children went to school in the 70's here and they started the first week of September and both made it college.

ED wrote "not another discussion about the calendar" No ED - this needs to be discussed. Since the BIG thing seems to be having finals before "holiday vacation" so there is no stress for those who think their grades will be better - I hope they all choose colleges where they will end their semesters before holidays - what a way to decide where you go to school !! If you study all semester, then you do not have to crammmmmmmm.

Also the week of October - if you want to apply to schools UC now has you fill out one application - not one to each university. If you want to go and see colleges, you will not be able to see all in a week ----maybe a longer summer will help the students go and see schools they might be interested in.

If you have another survey - please have one of the selections "SAME AS DISTRICTS AROUND OUR AREA" and don't decide what selections the board wants -

Like this comment
Posted by PUSDParent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2015 at 7:11 pm

If you havent seen last nights board meeting and you care about the calendar decision being revoked, I suggest you watch it online. Mr. Miller said in the beginning of the discussion that he thinks we should be moving to a modified calendar like San Ramon Unified is doing. Those who voted for him solely on this issue should know that he now is supportive of a modified calendar!

3 people like this
Posted by Whatever
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2015 at 7:54 pm

'Agree with wanted' says: "I hope they all choose colleges where they will end their semesters before holidays."

Please name for me one college that does not end its semester or quarter before the Christmas/New Year holiday. I've never heard of that.

1 person likes this
Posted by 10 Year Resident with 2 kids
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2015 at 8:01 pm

To Parent at Bridle Creek, who wrote: "The Palo Alto school calendar (one of the best schools in the bay area) is in the attached link. First day of school: August 17, 2015. Last day of school: June 2, 2016."

That's just one week earlier than our current schedule, with no bizarre October break and no "shortening" of summer vacation. I'd be just as happy with this schedule as the one we have.

However, I don't think we need to have "Palo Alto envy". The recent rash of suicides at Gunn High School there indicates that they are paying too high a price for their high-pressure system.

5 people like this
Posted by Working Parent
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 26, 2015 at 9:27 am

I really like the Palo Alto calendar or something very similar and it is different than ours. They don't have all of these random days off during the school year like PUSD does.I think there are two incorrect assumptions made about the need for these extra days off.
The first wrong assumption is that families are all going to take vacation around the holidays and there will be too much absenteeism. I strongly disagree. Most families are here for the schools, so we will have our kids attend if school is in session. I bet if they checked with any strong school district like ours that doesn't have all of these days off they would find not too many kids are actually out. There will always be some families that take time off during the school year. The option of independent study is an easy answer to keep the those kids on track without disrupting it for the rest of us.
Second, the shortened weeks really interrupt teaching. The kids do not have a routine schedule and some teaching is eliminated. We all know that routine schedules work best for kids. For example,if they normally have tests every Friday, they won't in a shortened week. The assumption that these day off reduces stress is actually the opposite. It just increases stress even more during the full weeks as teachers have to make up/cram for what was not taught/tested during the shorter weeks.
Finally, all these days off are a nightmare for working parents. There is no childcare coverage and most of us don't have 5 weeks of vacation to cover all of it. These 9-12 or 12-3 "camps" offered by Pleasanton Rec don't cover my full time work schedule at all!
Bottom line, have a school calendar with only the bare minimum days off that ends 1S at Xmas. Have MAJOR holidays only (the ones working parents get off, not banks), plus a few in-service days when the teacher need training and/or a day for report cards, class/college prep stuff, etc. Cut out the fat, keep the summers and improve learning.

9 people like this
Posted by Annoyed Parent
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Feb 26, 2015 at 9:49 am

Kids have so many non-school days during the year because teachers have to take classes or have some sort of "improvement" day, how about the teachers do those during the summer so that our kids don't have to have random days or weeks out of the classroom? That is really where the disruption in learning comes from.

And 3 Monday's off in a row in February and the last day of the month at Walnut Grove is ridiculous! I understand the President's Day holiday but why the need for the others? And November is pretty much a bust with all the parent teacher conferences and T-day vacation.

Please don't take this as teacher bashing, I appreciate what they do, and what they have to put up with in the classroom. I just think they should be doing any continuing education and team building days in the summer, not during the school year.

1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2015 at 1:22 pm

To 'whatever'


Like this comment
Posted by Whatever
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2015 at 7:22 pm

So there are over 4500 2 and 4-year colleges and universities in the US, and ONE ends the semester or quarter after the end of year holiday break? Maybe there are a few more, but I think you see my point, virtually all end classes and have exams before break.

14 people like this
Posted by Keep it simple!
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 26, 2015 at 8:56 pm

In my opinion, the holiday festivities begin Thanksgiving week and end on New Years. There are countless ways to celebrate, but in general, it includes activities and traditions that span the month of December. Family gatherings, parties, volunteering, religious obligations, decorating, baking, and shopping all involve time and energy that should be enjoyed. I, for one, do NOT want to add end-of-semester projects and finals into the mix.

I also think it is utterly ridiculous to consider adopting a calendar that is not in sync with our neighboring communities. How in the world are extra curricular activities going to be coordinated? Not to mention the burden it places on teachers and their children who live in the towns "next door". I have yet to hear a single meaningful reason why going it alone is a good idea.

If the entire tri-valley worked together and adopted a new calendar I'd do my best to rise to the occasion, figure it out, and keep my mouth shut. But this idea of going solo and hoping that the other districts follow our lead is just plain arrogant. We already live complicated lives, why purposefully make it more so?

And, for what its worth, I'm in full agreement of getting rid of all these shortened weeks. Talk about complicating things!

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood

on Feb 27, 2015 at 8:40 am

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

4 people like this
Posted by I agree
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2015 at 11:15 am


I agree with ALL that you said. I hope you send this to each person that is on the school board and to the superintendent.

You said it perfectly!!

5 people like this
Posted by Foothill Parent
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 27, 2015 at 12:11 pm

To all the people who want the old schedule, wait until your kids are in high school and must finish the semester in January, and have examination after. All the while they have to finish their applications to colleges, and deal with family activities over their last Christmas home

6 people like this
Posted by Another Foothill Parent
a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 27, 2015 at 12:32 pm

I currently have 2 Foothill HS Students, and we do not want the semester ending before Christmas. My children's friends agree. They do not want to have to to work on all end of semester projects and study for finals, in the already busy month of December. Having the finals towards the end of January is great. My kids take Christmas break off from school, and give their brain a break. Then the weekend before they go back to school, they briefly look over all their notes (this is about 1.5 hours for 2 days only). Then they feel so well rested, and ready to step it up for finals. As a family, we enjoy the December season, we go ice skating in SF, we shop for friends and family, and entertain guests all month long. I would hate to give that all up, because we are cramming finals in that month.

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Posted by caywen
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 27, 2015 at 3:52 pm

caywen is a registered user.

So, instead of cramming for finals in December, they can just briefly look over their notes after a week and do just as well? I'd believe this more: "Then the weekend before they go back to school, they cram like they never crammed before."

7 people like this
Posted by Wow
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2015 at 6:28 pm

Agree with agree. We need to work with other districts on changes. I don't recall Miller stating he wasn't for a change, just not the change in the WAY it happened.

Like this comment
Posted by Sidnee
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Feb 28, 2015 at 11:53 am

I have followed this since the beginning. I went to the board meetings and the information nights. I didn't have a problem with the version that Palo Alto does--just moving things forward a week or 2. But I spoke to various employees in the district and my impression was that the district already had what they wanted in mind--the one the board voted on. If the purpose of changing the calendar is to move finals to before winter break, then the easiest move is to do the version like Palo Alto does. Least restrictive and accomplishes what the board has committed to do. We aren't adding days to the instructional calendar--just moving the existing ones around.

Like this comment
Posted by PUSDparent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2015 at 12:38 pm

Seems we have school board amnesia WOW, and all those who are quiet now. Look back through the school board election posts, Mr Miller very clearly ran on a campaign of changing the calendar back to the traditional calendar. His supporters stated his intentions outright not only on this blog, but in conversations all over town. When his mission was completed, view the posts for those who again emphasized the 'mission accomplished'.

Im curious to now hear him say that he believes we should follow San Ramon's lead and begin a new exploration of a modified calendar. Im wondering where all those who elected him for this singular role are now?

The mistrust for PUSD is not coming from the actual accomplishments coming from our schools, its coming from a school board who wishes to portray a different picture of the district.

3 people like this
Posted by Another Foothill Parent
a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 28, 2015 at 9:19 pm

Caywen - Sorry to confuse you by my post. My kids briefly study, the weekend before going back to school in January for roughly 3 hours. Then for the next two weeks that school is in session, they step it up, and start to study for finals more in depth, with study groups, or on their own. If you knew the calendar, finals are not the first week after Christmas break. It's about 2 weeks after they return to school. They do not just cram like crazy the weekend before going back to school.

Like this comment
Posted by caywen
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 2, 2015 at 7:11 am

caywen is a registered user.

Another Foothill Parent - thanks for clarifying, it makes a bit more sense to me now :-)

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

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