Friday, June 10, 2005

Schools given
shared calendar

The Board of Education unanimously
chooses the "1-3-2" schedule

» Funds released to renovate school auditorium

The state Board of Education unanimously approved a uniform statewide public school calendar last night that gives students one week off in the fall, three weeks in the winter and two weeks in spring.

The so-called "1-3-2" calendar, which also gives students a seven-week summer vacation, will take effect in the 2006-07 school year and had been identified as the top choice of both the state Education Department and parents.

But at the board's meeting last night, two members in a nearly hour-long discussion pushed for a calendar that allows students six weeks of summer vacation and two weeks off in the fall.

Board member Garrett Toguchi said the "2-3-2" option would have given schools a better chance of providing educational opportunities for students during breaks. Board member Lei Ahu Isa also backed the schedule.

Meanwhile, Chairman Breene Harimoto said "the public has been led to believe" that the board would approve the "1-3-2" option, and to adopt another calendar would be "setting ourselves up for a backlash."

No one came to the meeting yesterday to testify for any of the calendars.

The "1-3-2" option approved yesterday was the leading contender in a survey -- handed out earlier this year to staff, parents and students -- of five calendar proposals, all of which included the same number of instructional days. In February, state Superintendent Pat Hamamoto also expressed support for the calendar.

Last year, the state Legislature passed a law mandating a single school calendar as part of the Reinventing Education Act. The board was under a July 1 deadline to decide which calendar to choose.

Charter and multitrack schools are exempted from the law.

Hamamoto called for the calendar change, citing problems in coordinating payroll and other administrative issues. Many parents who have children on more than one public school calendar say they also face logistical difficulties, especially during vacations.

According to the state Department of Education, about 80 percent of those who responded to the calendar survey rated the 1-3-2 calendar as "popular" or "acceptable."

Few had a strong dislike for the choice, the department said. Student instruction in the 1-3-2 calendar would, after teachers union approval, likely start on July 27 and end on June 7 the following year.

The "2-3-2" option -- featuring a two-week fall break, three-week Christmas break and two-week spring break -- won the highest "most preferred" rating, but it also had high negative ratings, the report said.

The most unpopular choice was the so-called traditional calendar, with its two-week Christmas break and a summer vacation as long as 10 weeks.

In the past decade, close to two-thirds of the state's 282 schools have moved toward year-round calendars that shorten the summer break and allow more time off at other times during the year.

Several national studies have suggested the long summer break in the traditional calendar's instruction might have a negative impact on comprehension and retention, especially among economically disadvantaged students.

New school year

The Board of Education approved a uniform statewide school calendar yesterday based on the following schedule:

School year begins: July 27*

Fall break: One week

Winter break: Three weeks

Spring break: Two weeks

School year ends: June 7*

Summer break: Seven weeks

* Start and end dates will be set in consultation with unions. These dates are a starting point.

Source: State Department of Education

State Department of Education

E-mail to City Desk


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