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DeKalb Schools Modifies Calendar in Response to Weather

The revisions proposed hoped to maximize instruction time for students prior to this spring's Criterion Reference Competency Tests and the End of Course Tests.

DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond. Credit: Patch file
DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond. Credit: Patch file

Patch Staff Report

DeKalb Schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond announced Thursday that he will recommend next week an extended school calendar because of instructional days lost to winter weather.

“Our primary responsibility is to help students improve, achieve and grow,” Thurmond said in a news release. “The revisions proposed to the DeKalb Board of Education will maximize instruction time for our students prior to the administration of the Criterion Reference Competency Tests (CRCT) and the End of Course Tests (EOCT).”

DeKalb County lost eight instructional days due to snow, sleet and ice storms in January and February. The Georgia Board of Education has allowed local school systems to decide whether to waive up to seven days lost to inclement weather.

At Monday's March 3 meeting of the Board of Education, Thurmond will recommend the following schedule changes:

  • Add five instruction days prior to the CRCT for students in grades 3-8 by moving the testing dates from April 15-24 to April 22-May 1.

  • Add three instructional and remediation days to the end of the school year - May 21-23

  • Move the CRCT re-test window to May 20-22 to recoup remediation days prior to the CRCT re-assessment

  • The original schedule for the EOCT testing is unchanged for May 5-12 for students in grades 9-12

In addition to the calendar revisions, the district will provide enhanced support and resources designed to improve academic growth and achievement for teachers, students and administrators. Teachers will receive in-service professional learning including Saturday sessions, on March 15. Also, workshops for parents and families to support and strengthen home-school learning will be scheduled.

Below is the proposed complete plan for make-up days.

Priorities:

  • To recoup and maximize the number of instructional days prior to the administration of the Criterion Reference Competency Tests (CRCT) and End of Course Tests (EOCTs)
  • To recoup and maximize the number of days for remediation prior to the second administration of the CRCT and EOC.
  • To maximize student growth and achievement through targeted Professional Learning for teachers, department heads, and administrators
Calendar Modifications to Achieve Priorities:
  • Recoup three instructional days to the calendar - May 21-23, 2014

  • Move the CRCT testing window back one week - April 22 – May 1, 2014 to allow for 5 additional instructional days prior to the administration of the CRCT.
  • Move the CRCT re-test window - May 20-22, 2014 to recoup remediation days prior to the CRCT re-assessment.
  • The EOCT administration will be May 5-12, 2014

  • Post-planning day for second semester - May 27, 2014

  • Professional Learning Day for all staff - May 28, 2014
Instructional Impact:
  • Recoup and maximize 5 instructional days prior to the administration of the CRCT 
  • Utilize the 12 instructional days after the first CRCT administration for remediation including 4 instructional days for targeted remediation upon receipt of test results for all elementary and middle schools before the CRCT re-test administration on May 20th, 21st, and 22nd
  • Add 3 days to the calendar to recoup instructional time 
  • Provide continued support and resources for DeKalb’s focus on growth and achievement for teachers, department heads, and administrators through targeted high quality professional learning
  • Provide targeted Parental & Family Engagement Workshops to support the home-school connection to improve growth and academic achievement

Parents, teachers, what's your response to this plan? Do you like the approach that Thurmond is recommending?

Information in this report was supplied by the DeKalb County School District and edited for publication.
Cheryl Miller February 28, 2014 at 11:43 AM
A Superintendent who actually considers the educational needs of the children before making top-line decisions? An opportunity to take back pay from already disgruntled employees and it wasn't seized and then used as bonus pay for key top administrators at the Palace? A decision that provides teachers with time for planning the next semester and allows for their own professional growth? Pinch me, I must be dreaming!
A Smitty March 01, 2014 at 06:30 AM
Adding three days to the end of the year is pointless. Nothing will be accomplished. And I can guarantee that teachers are not planning for the next year on those last couple of days of post planning. They are trying to recover from an arduous year of teaching.
Cheryl Miller March 01, 2014 at 09:43 AM
Maybe adding to the end of the year WOULD have been pointless except for the fact that he also moved the CRCT test to allow for additional learning to take place before testing. That was a good move. As for the teachers not utilizing the planning days, I hope you are mistaken. I have heard many complaints about the teachers needing days for planning and I'm glad to see Super. Thurmond is being responsive to their requests. Baby steps. But we are moving in the right direction.
Cheryl Miller March 01, 2014 at 09:46 AM
Arduous except for this part: "DeKalb County lost eight instructional days due to snow." :-) (said with a smile)

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