For the chronology of events regarding the adoption of the 2003/04, see 2003/04 Calendar Background.
Comments Received from Alameda Regarding the 2003/04 Calendar
Posted in date order recieved
This calendar issue has made the Board the laughing stock of Alameda. If I was teaching a logic class, I would present the class with this information: Parents and students have voiced no solid preference for either calendar, teachers overwhelmingly support a post Labor Day start, and staff analysts have reported consistently that a post Labor Day start increases attendance and ADA.
Now class, you have 5 minutes to come up with an answer. What does logic tell you?
Given all the upcoming issues we will have to deal with (RIF, WAR, New Contract), I urge you and the board to settle the calendar as follows: keep a "fall" break, but make it the week of Thanksgiving. This makes sense in terms of money, in terms of being a true compromise and in terms of what the public can understand and accept. I also think that most teachers would accept it too, albeit not as their first choice.
My husband and I feel strongly that we all need a break sometime in October or the first week in November. The week of October 20th or the first week in November would be ideal as I have conferences on during the week shown on the second proposed calendar, but in any case, our family really needs a break before Thanksgiving badly.
With the developmentally advanced and demanding curriculum, it's very important for our mental health and student and parent morale. As it is, we already made plans for a family reunion for the week that we were hoping to be off in October or November.
Thanks again for taking parents' concerns into the planning.
Please decide upon a 2003-2004 school calendar ASAP. At this point in time, I don't care what the calendar is, I just need a decision to be made.
Calendars for my husband's work, my work and my pre-schooler are based on the calendar year. My second grader's schedule is governed by AUSD. This causes scheduling 'challenges'.
In the ideal world, AUSD would publish the school calendar sometime in early January each year. February is livable. March is unacceptable.
We need to get the Calendar passed. It really isn't much different than the one from last year. Classes start after the holiday, which I understand caused us to lose money last year. With everything else that is happening, this Calendar is the least of our worries. Let's get passed this calender, pass it and deal with the more important issues. Lay offs, employee morale etc.
It is now March 14, and there is still no calendar. There is much I do not understand about how this matter has been handled. Is the board intentionally delaying this issue because board members want this year's schedule instead?
This year's schedule is a bad, one year compromise that should not be repeated. If there is mandated testing during the proposed October break, why did the teachers not consider the testing when coming up with calendar proposal #2? Were they given this information in a timely manner to consider? Why is this process happening so close to a state mandated deadline for calendar adoption? It looks like very poor management from a parent's viewpoint.
I am very upset that it seems that the board will adopt a calendar by default, that is to say, by missing the deadline for adoption of the calendar, you are in effect adopting the current calendar if the information in the newspapers is true.
Parent 3/12,p>I was not able to personally attend the February school board meeting, and so I anticipated hearing and reading about the proceedings. When I read the article in the Alameda Journal, I was stunned. Anyone who didn't know anything about the history of the calendar issue would be completely misled by the statements of Board members quoted in the article. It appears that some of the Board members don't recall that history either, or else they didn't do their homework. The least desirable explanation would be a built in bias against teachers. I hope not. Where do such statements as "It (the calendar) is obnoxious!" or "I wonder if teachers are doing this to get an extra paycheck?" come from??? And where is the district in all this? Apparently silent. Are you communicating with them? Are you asking the right questions? Are they telling you the facts?
As you should know, our last contract, AT THE BIDDING OF AUSD, stipulated that we were to adopt a SINGLE, HYBRID CALENDAR. I was a member of the calendar committee, which Stan Rose chaired for the year 2001-02, charged with the responsibility to carry out that task. Not one teacher asked to change the calendar. We juggled and struggled and solicited information from the ENTIRE COMMUNITY OF STAKEHOLDERS, including parents. As you should recall, there was an extremely vocal and active group of parents and teachers who felt very strongly about year-round education. After much time and effort and consideration of all stakeholders, we finally adopted a compromise, hybrid calendar for this current academic year. The week-long break in October was all the high school calendar could concede to the year-round advocates, for reasons thoroughly explained to all interested parties, and in the minutes of the Board meeting at its adoption. (At the time of its proposal, we had many high school teachers vehemently opposed to a week-long break in October!)
Now we are faced with 2003-04. We basically retained the same calendar, with a few, small adjustments. How then do we find ourselves faced with possible arbitration over this very issue, an issue, wholly created by the district and now being blamed on the teachers, who have contractual rights to bargain their working conditions??! The teachers have acquiesced on all counts where the district was concerned about the calendar. If the district wants a traditional calendar, they should be forthright to the public, including advocates of year-round education, as well as the Board, and not hide behind the screen of the teachers' legal rights to collective bargaining. It is entirely bad faith. Or, have you not even spoken with their representatives?
For these reasons, I was stunned and utterly frustrated by the Board's inappropriate and ill-thought public reaction. I was also deeply and personally offended by the reference to teachers wanting another paycheck. I took a $10,000. per year pay cut for the privilege of teaching in my home community of Alameda when I voluntarily left Dublin Unified. (Request their pay scale.) I have another colleague who was offered a job there last year and turned it down because, for various reasons, she felt she was more needed by the students in Alameda! That's putting your money where your mouth is. I can honestly say that I can't think of a single teacher that I know that acts out of greed, or a desire for undeserved material gain. Quite the contrary, they give their time, their talent, their financial resources, their hearts to kids. If anything, teaching and financially rewarding are oxymoronic.
Yet, I am still perplexed by Board members who have so little faith in the teachers of Alameda. How can they entrust their own children to teachers of such base motivation? Fortunately for Alameda's schools, the community does not agree with them. Parents have made it very clear how they feel about Alameda's teachers several times in recent history: During negotiations 3 three years ago when they supported teachers, and when they passed the parcel tax last year. They expressed their support again this year to independent observers, as AHS went through its accreditation process, and they express it everyday, as they send their children into our capable and carng hands.
I've been watching the calendar issue closely and frankly am appalled that it has come to this. I watched in anguish on 2/25 as the Board could not even come up with a second to your motion.
Frankly at this point, as a parent, I don't care what calendar you guys come up with. Just get one in stone! My husband and I both work and I've been in the process of booking summer camps and a potential vacation (which of course I've slated for 8/18) which will now be shot if we go back to last year's calendar. My point is.... just let us know what it is. We have such busy lives that dragging this affects all of us personally.
On a day like today when I've just heard that all the employees in the District received pink slips in preparation for whatever budget cuts are coming, I think there are bigger issues out there to deal with.
Please, please pass something soon so we parents can figure out our lives and teachers can teach!
How silly that no one can decide. I sure would prefer a start date of after Labor day vs August 21 though.
Although I am not entirely clear on the issues this year, I find it very discouraging that the district and the teachers have yet to arrive at a multi year calendar. If the teachers are unhappy with the early Fall Break, will they be more comfortable with the Unified Calendar the district had this year. Wood (my son's school) was marching to it's own drummer because of modernization.
I commend the Board for not approving the proposed calendar. Unfortunately, I don't think the Union offered a significantly different calendar and I think the current calendar was at the expense of education. I have 3 children in the District, and it was a very choppy year. The effect of the calendar on the quality of education should be considered. If the result of no agreement is the same old calendar one more year, I'd rather have that than a Board who will accept whatever the Union offers, regardless of quality.
I am so tired of the calendar issue, as I imagine you are too. My view is pretty sensible- we lose ada with folks not in school during thanksgiving week, so let's save money by taking that whole week off. It is not what the former year round folks want, but compromise is the foundation of a democracy.
I wish to correct some information that was given to the board recently that is not factual. During the discussion about the school calendar for 2003-04, the statement was made that students must be instructed a minimum number of days in order to take the AP exams. This is incorrect.
I am the AP coordinator at Alameda High School and I wish to emphasize that there is no requirement of any kind as to minutes or days of instruction. I called the AP national organization this morning to confirm that. Indeed, students do not even have to be enrolled in an AP class of any kind to take the exam, and we have two students who will challenge the Calculus BC and Physics C exam this year, even though those courses are not offered at our school. Last year AHS administered 422 AP exams to students, and had an astounding 72% pass rate, earning those students college credit. The AP exams will be given this year from May 6-15, and we currently expect to administer over 450 exams during those two weeks.
It is certainly true that it is an advantage to both AP instructors and students to have as many school days as possible to prepare for this rigorous exam, but there is no requirement as to minimum days taught. As far as college applicatons go, the UC and CSU applications must be completed by November 30 for admission for the following year, and private schools range from November 30 to January 1.
I hope you find this information useful.
Well, things continue to be interesting around the calendar. After looking at the two, I have a couple of suggestions to pass on to whoever is going to be negotiating this calendar.Option A: Longer Thanksgiving Break- Based on First Calendar-Take 2 staff development days from August (start teachers on August 29) take Oct. 31, Nov. 10 and April 9th to give 1 full week more to Thanksgiving break- November 17th to 21 for students and make that week an excellent teacher training, staff workday week for teachers. (not sure if teachers would love this or hate this) It would certainly be more in the spirit of a year round calendar, but reduces the 'in-out,in-out' syndrome that comes with the October break. It would also provide the opportunity for district-wide training and sharing between the various schools.
Option B: Move Oct. break to join the Veterans day break: Based on Second Calendar- Put the Fall break from Nov. 3 to 11th. That folds in the Veterans day holiday. Leave Thanksgiving a 2 day break. With the longer break at the beginning of November there should be less absenteeism as families will have already done their trips.
Note for the future: It would be a really good move to make Veteran's Day a floating holiday on the calendar for all unions. It would be far less disruptive than it is now if it could be added to longer holidays.
The calendar has always been a big issue with the ELD Department. Testing our students and getting correct information to the state is of the utmost importance to us. A week off in October just doesn't work.
It says they will fall back upon last year's calendar... but will some teacher's refuse to work? Could we have an issue of "no school"?
I watched (most of) tonight's calendar vote on channel 15. Thanks for your motion in favor of the proposed calendar, your no vote on the vague Board "direction" to the Superintendent regarding further negotiations, and your efforts throughout the evening to expedite the proceedings with motions.
I hope I'm wrong about where this calendar issue is heading, but I won't be surprised if it is not quickly resolved and we end up repeating our mid-August start and mid-October break.
I am concerned that a scheduled week off in the Fall will be eliminated from the calendar. I am not too choosy about when the week occurs, but feel that the value of a week off that does not coincide with every other school district in the State is immeasurable. Having the opportunity to spend time with my family during the week is an important part of their education. The week off in October is the only time all year that some museums and National parks are not too crowded to enjoy. Please vote for a calendar that respects teacher's needs as well as quality family time, and does not cater to State mandated tests.
As a parent of a child at Woodstock Elementary, I prefer the first tenative calendar. Thanks for making the info available to parents.
In light of the enormous budget cuts in the offing, the District does not have time to waste on relatively small issues like this. This calendar is only for one year; just ratify it and make next year's different if need be. Also, the parent community would like to set their schedules for summer, this is holding up that process.
I am writing to you all to urge you to pass the proposed 2003-2004 calendar. I can tell you that the teachers at my school (Wood Middle) are upset at the "greedy teacher" characterization; we thought that the District wanted the calendar this way to a) make it more of a "hybrid" calendar to please the year-round folks; and b) to ensure that the first day of school came after Labor Day so the District would not lose ADA money. We don't care so muchwhether we get a week off in October or get out a week earlier in June; both have their pros and cons. What we DO care about is getting a calendar passed so we know when we have to return to school after summer break and sowe can move on to more important things like RIF, budget problems, and contract negotiations.
We as teachers voted 80% in favor of the calendar. The community of Alameda has elected you to act on measures put before you, and I truly believe that this is your obligation. It is not productive to let a matter so crucial as a work schedule pass you by. People throughout the community need to schedule vacations (not just teachers), classes, and other personal matters. In addition to this inconvenience, this is almost exactly the calendar we had this year, so how can it be "obnoxious" as stated by Mr. Reeves? Let's vote and move on to matters which concern us far more, the budget.
Please approve next year's calendar so we can get down to the serious business of preserving education in the face of budget cuts. The teachers included the October break out of consideration for the board's insistence on having an October break last year. School for the students should start after Labor Day as dictated by tradition and good financial sense. Please start including classified personnel in decision making so we can all plan together in the future.
I urge you to pass the calendar ratified on 1/21/03. We have acted in good faith in an attempt to honor requests for a hybrid calendar that will balance the needs of all schools and save money where we can. I am positive that no teachers at our site voted for an October break for any other reason than to make the calendar work and to get things lined up for the coming school year. I hope that you can act expeditiously on this matter so that your board can move on to other pressing matters.
Please vote asap on the 2003-4 school calendar. Hospital workers must bid on vacations now for calendar year 2003. My wife is an Operating Room Nurse and we can't plan for a family vacation after September 2003, until you vote.
Please don't keep the issue in limbo. The teachers agreed to start after Labor Day, as the Board requested, please honor the teacher vote. I hope that a "few", 81 are not influencing the desire of the majority of teachers, 385.
I am a teacher in Alameda, and I am writing to urge passage of the proposed calendar without further delay. I watched the last board meeting on television and was astonished to see once again, the energy, lack of will, and wasted time that has gone into this issue. I was further astonished to see that one board member even called for another special meeting for parents, teachers, students, and other interested parties to express themselves. This in the face of irrefutable facts gathered by your own staff that there is no overwhelming indication on anybody's part that a pre or post Labor Day start is favored by a majority of any interested group, but that a post Labor Day start will enhance attendance and revenue. What more facts could anyone possibly need to make a decision?
I must say that I have never heard a parent or a student express any liking for a pre Labor Day start, nor have I heard any desire to continue the superfluous October break, which is a preposterous scheduling event coming only a few weeks after the beginning of school. If you want to throw in the pre Thanksgiving Wednesday as a school holiday, go ahead, but really, let's not make a federal case out of it.
Let's go back to a traditional calendar so everyone can have a decent break in the summer, and I say this especially for those teachers and students who labor under an additional 6 weeks of summer school.
Please, no more research, special meetings, surveys, or lack of will. Let's get the calendar settled, start school a day after Labor Day, and allow us all to make real plans for the summer.
Please ratify the proposed calendar as soon as possible. To not ratify will cost the District time and money. If this issue goes to impasse, proceedings will cost money.
In light of the enormous budget cuts, the District doesn't have the time to waste on small issues. The October break on the proposed calendar was an attempt to honor the District's request to have a "hybrid" calendar. This calendar starts after Labor Day, which is a good-faith effort by the teachers to honor the District's concern for lost ADA. Community members need to know what next year's calendar is going to be as soon as possible.
I am writing you this letter in regards to this year's attemptS at creating next year's calendar. I have been teaching for 8 years in this District with experiences in both traditional and year-round calendars. Both have qualities that benefit students. This year, due to contract negotiations from previous years, we are experiencing the "hybrid" calendar. Again, having qualities that benefit the students. I only preface this because, we, the teachers, administrators (district/site), and all others involved with the students' education somehow adapt to whatever circumstances face us.
I attended the Board Meeting on Feb. 25, 2003 where a few people spoke out against the proposed calendar for next year which, may I say, was approved by the District and agreed upon with AEA. The opponents made good points about why the calendar would not work for them particularly the October break. Two concerns are sports schedules and not having a "true" vacation. I would argue that there are schools in this state who have modified schedules that work. Ever since I can remember, sports continued in and through breaks i.e. basketball during winter break and football during summer (double sessions). These are choices students, parents, and coaches make. To refute the second point, there are two months (July & August) in which one can schedule a vacation.
I hope you support the District and AEA on next year's calendar so that we, (teachers, administrators, district, board members, and families) can continue planning our students' education.
I would really like to see a calendar for our next year voted upon.
Personally, I would like to see the calendar that was approved by almost 80% of our district. It would feel good to know that the guys are listened to.
I am writing to you as the parent of a Elementary student. We are a military family, and when we found out we would be stationed in San Francisco (my spouse commutes to YBI), we chose to live in the Alameda.
Shortly after we bought a home, the calendar was switched to the traditional schedule for budget reasons. We were disappointed, but were pleased that the calendar still contained a break in the fall.
I am writing to urge you to reconsider your rejection of next year's proposed calendar. I have read that many of you are unhappy with the scheduled fall break. The fall break was a great thing for our family last year. Our daughter had been in school for almost two months, and adjusting to the new routine and incorporating all that new information was exhausting to her (and to us). The fall break was our chance to "recharge" her batteries.
I cannot speak for other parents, but for us, the fall break was essential.
Please keep it, since you have already had to give up the year round school option that drew many of us to this system.
PTA Council is pushing for a calendar ASAP but I'd rather have a good calendar. The week in Oct. is for what? AUSD combined a year 'round calendar and a traditional calendar and ended up with a week of in Oct and numerous long weekends thruout the calendar year, which some of us parents (I'm a parent of an 8th grader and twin 3d graders) think are actually disruptive to the learning process.
I'd prefer having that Oct week attached to another break (Spring, Winter, or Summer- int hat order of preference). It's not quality family time in Oct because it's too late for camping, too early for skiing/winter sports and really too short for any road trip.
I definitely agree that we should return after Labor Day since we're not doing the Year Round calendar (which is actually my first choice - I think studies have shown that kids retain more and thus need less school time to "refresh/re-learn" and thus should do better in the long run).
Thanks for not just going along and accepting everything it's proposed.
Thank you for your attempt to approve the 03-04 calendar at the Feb. 25th board meeting. I appreciate your effort to approve a calendar in which agreement was reached by both the district and AEA. I was disappointed that your fellow trustees chose to take no action.
Here are some thoughts I have concerning the board's failure to take action on this issue. To not approve this calendar will cost the district time and money. If rejected before June 1st, this issue will likely go to impasse proceedings with all the attendant costs. In light of the enormous budget cuts in the offing, the district doesn't have time to waste on relatively small issues like this. This calendar is for one year only. It is not as if we are locked into a calendar for several years. There is always the possiblity of negotiating a different calendar for 04-05. The October break was an attempt to honor the district's request to have a hybrid calendar balancing year-round and traditional, not a symptom of greed. This calendar starts after Labor Day, which is a good faith effort by AEA to honor the district's concern about lost ADA.
When I spoke at the Feb. 25th board meeting I mentioned setting priorities during these tough budgetary times. It seems ludicrous that so much time, energy, and emotion is being wasted on a calendar when there are issues that are far more critical at this time. It is my hope that, for the sake of the community, the Alameda Board of Education will approve the calendar negotiated between the district and AEA, moving on to more relevant issues.
Recently the Board of Education decided not to vote on the negotiated calendar for the 2003-2004 school year. It is confusing as to why this action was taken. Teachers, through the Alameda Education Association have cooperated fully in the development and negotiation of the calendar. As you should be aware, it was the administration that asked for the elimination of two calendars as a cost saving measure. The teachers did not back away and say no-way! Instead, teachers dug-in and worked cooperatively with all interested parties to develop the alternative calendar.
Comments that the teachers did not think of the students, only themselves are misguided. If a calendar "good for students" was to be implemented, research clearly shows that a year-round calendar is best for student achievement. The only reason for the traditional calendar is sports, and that is for the children.
With the implementation of a new calendar, came a new schedule of paydays. This schedule was developed and implemented with the idea of an on-going calendar. Change the calendar again and it is only common sense that a new schedule of paydays will need to be developed. An allegation of "teacher greed" is insulting. Adjusting the payday schedule does not give the teachers more dollars! It merely adjusts the distribution of the salaries. How quickly it is forgotten that in the late nineties during another budget crisis, teachers said no to class size increases to finance a salary increase. That is not an act of teacher greed. Recently, as most districts negotiated double digit salary increases, Alameda teachers settled for half that amount. Is that teacher greed? Teacher bashing is a cheap shot unbecoming any elected official. In light of a clearly inappropriate comment, an apology to the teachers of Alameda is the only right thing to do.
Teachers provide the education to students. Anti-teacher is anti-student.
Times are tough for schools and the future is uncertain. As we weather the financial roller coaster it is necessary for board members, administrators, support staff, parents, and teachers to work cooperatively. Negotiating the entire contract is an awesome task that must be taken seriously. To begin the process on such a sour note leaves no doubt that the negotiations will be long and painstaking. I urge you to pass the calendar at the earliest possibility and begin a cooperative negotiating process.
I'm writing to implore you and your fellow school board members to settle this discussion about the school calendar. It is impossible for parents to plan anything until we know when school starts...when high school orientation is. I don't know what the issue is but now you have the teachers and the parents mad.
I am sending this email to urge you to ratify the proposed calendar for next year. I am a teacher at Alameda High School and while I have no personal interest in this calendar, I voted for it because it was the right thing to do. I think I can speak for the majority of teachers when I tell you that we were absulety fine with the calendars we had before. The request for a "hybrid" calendar did not come from us. As I recall, the reason we were asked to go to one calendar was to save money. I resent all the changes everyone -students, families, teachers, classified staff, all AUSD employees-have been put though because someone didn't do their homework when investigating the cost of this change. Furthermore, I resent taking the "fall" for this mess and now being called greedy and selfish.
More importantly, as a district we have a lot of difficult issues facing us as a result of the budget cuts. This is no time to be devided over issues like the calendar. Personally, I am embarrassed of the image the community has of our district right now. The parents want this settled just as much as the teachers do, We need to move on, please ratify the proposed calendar as soon as possible for the benefit of all of us. It's the right thing to do!
I am writing to urge you to vote to adopt the proposed academic calendar for 2003-2004 at your next Board meeting on March 11.
My understanding is that, as a result of several concerns that were raised at the Feb. 25, the Board failed to take action on the proposed calendar. I agree that the proposed calendar is flawed in several respects. Nonetheless, there are compelling reasons why you should adopt this admittedly imperfect calendar.
Compelling arguments for approving the calendar include the following:
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.
By choosing not to ratify the proposed calendar the board is demonstrating that they are short-sighted and/or misinformed for the following reasons:
Please reconsider this poor decision and ratify the proposed calendar.
I was at the last board meeting and heard some statements that appeared to be biased against the teachers in regards to the calendar. Originally, the teachers worked with the district when coming up with the week off in October because we were told that we needed to come up with one hybrid calendar; this year we were also told that the district lost money when we started after Labor Day, so we agreed to starting later, as well. Now it appears that some people are accusing us of being selfish when it comes to this decision. I think this is inaccurate and unprofessional.
I am also urging you to ratify the calendar, due to the fact that it will cost the district money if this issue comes to an impasse.
I was very disappointed in the Board's decision to avoid a vote on the calendar for next year. It will be a costly mistake that will hurt the district.
There are very few good reasons for obstinance. This calendar is the right one for next year.
Since we have so many more pressing matters: the entire new contract, a possible war, and the serious state budget woes, it makes too much sense to not drag the calendar issue on and on.
I write to urge you to approve the calendar the teachers recently ratified. There are several sound reasons to do so:
For the above reasons, I urge to approve this calendar at the next board meeting.
I would like to point out some flaws in the calendar as it pertains to educating our High School students.
I am reading in the Alameda Sun that you have not approved the calendar for next year. As I look at the proposed calendar, I see nothing wrong with it, and much improvement over this year's calendar. I am very happy with the start of school after Labor Day, as it will no longer interfere with our traditional August family vacation, as it has done the past few years. Please accept the calendar at the next meeting so that we can start planning and scheduling for next year.
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