La Cañada Unified School District parents should prepare to double-check their datebooks before scheduling work commitments and family getaways.
The district and teachers union officials have announced tentative calendars for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years that shift forward the first day of school and include a total of six student-free teacher collaboration days.
In 2012-13, school will start on Tuesday, Aug. 28, and end on Thursday, June 13, 2013, a calendar comparable to that of the current year. Teacher collaboration days will take place on three Fridays — Sept. 28, Feb. 14 and March 15 — that precede long weekends, said Supt. Wendy Sinnette.
“Instead of 176 school instructional days for students, we will have 178 instructional days,” Sinnette said at a May 29 school board meeting. “We will have three collaboration days, which will be spread throughout the year.”
In 2013-14, the school year will shift forward one week, with the first day scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 20, according to the terms of the agreement. The change is designed to allow extra instructional time before critical spring exams, Sinnette said.
“It really has to do with the scheduling of the STAR tests, the scheduling of the AP tests — all of those come at a point in May when we need more time to focus on targeted instruction,” Sinnette said. “When you have a large chunk of your school year falling after some of those high-stakes tests ... that instructional time is valuable, but it is not as valuable as having it earlier in the school year.”
The La Cañada school year will likely be shifted an additional week forward in 2014-15, although it won't be formally negotiated until a much later date, Sinnette said.
The change will better align the district's schedule with that of California Interscholastic Federation athletics, Sinnette said. The Glendale Unified School District and others are taking similar steps.
The 2013-14 collaboration days are scheduled for Nov. 1, Feb. 13 and March 14.
Mandy Redfern, president of the La Cañada Teachers Assn., said she believes the agreement is the best solution for teachers, schools and parents and the association's 200 teachers.
“We are proud of the work that we did and believe that it supports our main joint interest, which is meeting the needs of our students,” Redfern stated in an email.