Teachers might give up planning days to teach


POSTED: Thursday, October 01, 2009

State teachers are looking at giving up some planning days in order to increase classroom time in response to the 17 furlough days per year resulting from budget cuts.

The increase would be done school by school.

At Kaiser High School in East Oahu, the talks have focused on canceling three planning/collaboration days where teachers meet among themselves to review and plan curriculum, giving students the days off.

The planning/collaboration days would be replaced with instructional days.

Kaiser Principal John Sosa said he met with the leaders of the school teaching teams, who agreed to advance the proposal.

“;The fact they agree to this is a pretty good indication that they see the importance of maximizing instruction time however we can,”; Sosa said.

Sosa said the proposal is to go before some 65 teachers at the school to gauge their support.

The days that could be changed to instructional are Jan. 15, Feb. 26 and April 26, he said.

Sosa said if the change receives support, the proposal would go before the school's community council at a meeting tentatively set for Oct. 13, then hopefully to the state Board of Education by Oct. 21.

The first furlough day is scheduled for Oct. 23.

State education officials said the change would need the approval of the school board, in collaboration with the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

HSTA President Wil Okabe said the change has benefits, provided it is supported by the teachers.

“;It's a good thing,”; Okabe said. “;It will give them the opportunity to get in more instruction time for their students but that depends on what the faculty decides.”;

State education spokeswoman Sandra Goya said in light of the loss of 17 Fridays of school, there has been interest in increasing instructional time by canceling planning/collaboration days and waiver days, which are similar to planning collaboration days.

“;Since last week, we have been apprised there are many discussions going on at our schools in regard to this topic,”; Goya said.

Goya said education officials plan to expedite the review process.

Sosa said several feeder schools in the Kaiser complex, including Niu Valley Middle School, and Koko Head, Hahaione, Kamiloiki and Aina Haina elementary schools, are considering converting at least one planning collaboration day into an instructional day.

Ronn Nozoe, the complex superintendent for Kaiser, Farrington and Kalani, said all of his schools are considering replacing planning collaboration and waiver days with instructional days.

“;Some schools are in a heavy professional development phase and others aren't,”; he said.