Parents and community members can weigh in now on next year’s Virginia Beach Schools’ calendar through an “e-town hall” that went live on Wednesday.
More than 300 people already had commented by Thursday afternoon. The school district asked people to review three calendar options and to leave a comment. Those who do can share their responses publicly on the site, with or without their names.
Some responses simply state a preference for one of the three calendar options. Others go further, providing opinions on matters ranging from snow days and the need for extra planning time for teachers to how much working parents dislike half days.
The three calendar options provided by the district are:
- Option 1: No change to the schedule used for the 2015-2016 school year.
- Option 2: One professional development day for teachers would be added on Aug. 26, the Friday before their in-service week.
- Option 3: This proposal builds two and half days into the calendar for teacher professional development. Aug. 26 would be a professional development day for staff. Oct. 24 would be a half professional development day with no school for students, and the winter holiday break would begin on Dec. 23 instead of Dec. 22 to make up that day. Dec. 6 and March 7 would be adjusted dismissal days for students and have afternoon professional development days for staff.
All three of the options start school the day after Labor Day, on Sept. 6, and include the required 183 instructional days for students.
The submissions will be reviewed by a calendar committee, which will make a recommendation to the School Board in early 2016, according to a release from the district.
Trenace Riggs, president of the Virginia Beach Education Association and a member of the committee, said this is the first time the district has sought the public’s input on the school calendar. She said the feedback is important because the school calendar has an impact on the community.
Superintendent Aaron Spence said in a release that he wanted to make sure school stakeholders had a voice in the process.
“Setting a school calendar has major implications for students, employees and our families,” he said in the release.
The school district said it received feedback last year about building more professional learning time for teachers into the schedule, as well as more flexibility for inclement weather.
The virtual town hall says it will take comments until noon Dec. 10.