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Tulsa Public School presents 3 calendar options for 2020-21 school year

Posted at 10:55 AM, Jun 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 15:58:06-04

TULSA — In a board meeting on June 22, Tulsa Public Schools officials presented three different calendar options for the 2020-21 school year with different start and end dates.

The changes are being presented in light of the coronavirus pandemic and safety.

TPS Chief Innovation Officer Andrea Castaneda presented the three calendar options to the board.

Castaneda said it's important Tulsa Public Schools picks a calendar that is flexible and safe. The calendar needs to allow families to know when their start and end days are, when breaks will be, and how long the school day will be.

She said there is one critical piece of information needed from public health officials.

About the first week in August, we will take our lead from public health officials, and they will tell us what is safe. And from that we will be able to say with much greater precision exactly what the first day of school is going to look like.
Andrea Castaneda | TPS Chief Innovation Officer

Castaneda gave five main categories for "creating a flexible and safe calendar:"

  • Clarity and stability for families and staff: Clear and stable start date, end date, and break schedule
  • Designed for transition: The ability to shift easily from in-person, hybrid, and distance learning; includes a strategic balance of days and breaks across the year
  • Optimized conditions for teaching and learning: Maintaining instructional minutes and structures to serve our students and families
  • Time for cleaning, training, and planning: Sufficient and well-timed opportunities for cleaning, training, planning, and collaboration
  • Acceleration options: Creating opportunities to accelerate students who need support the most

Castaneda presented the following three calendar options to the board, each containing the five main categories above in different scenarios:

Option #1 - Maintain current calendar

Start Date: Aug. 19
End Date: May 21
Designed for transition: No opportunities to "reset"; Limited opportunities to re-balance.
Length of school day: 400 minutes
Instructional days/year: 166 + 2 PT conference
Cleaning, training, planning time for teachers: 3 days for summer training ; no intersessions
Total # days of break: 26 days
Acceleration Options: Limited acceleration options

Option one is a familiar calendar for families and staff, but Castaneda says it does not allow flexibility.

Option #2 - More Flexible Option

Start Date: Aug. 31
End Date: June 8
Designed for transition: Six 'reset' opportunities if any changes are required
Length of school day: 436 minutes
Instructional days/year: 152 + 2 PT conference
Cleaning, training, planning time for teachers: 7 days for summer training ; Intersession options
Total # days of break: 36 days
Acceleration Options: 6 intersessions (including 1/2 weeks)

Castaneda said this is the more flexible and compressed option. When intersessions are built in, it allows for more flexibility but the days are longer, Castaneda said.

The start day of Aug. 31 will allow teachers to be front loaded with professional development, as well.

Option #3 - More Flexible, Later Start Date

Start Date: Sept. 10
End Date: June 30
Designed for transition: Six 'reset' opportunities, Balance built in
Length of school day: 410 minutes
Instructional days/year: 162 + 2 PT conference
Cleaning, training, planning time for teachers: 7 days for summer training ; Intersession options
Total # days of break: 31 days
Acceleration Options: 6 intersessions (including 1/2 weeks), this is in addition to standard breaks, for students that need more support

The district is also planning to offer a range of scheduling options that would be based on local health official recommendations.

TPS Superintendent Deborah A. Gist said, “Regardless of which calendar we use, we’re planning for three types of student and teacher schedules: learning in-person, a mix of in-person and distance learning, and distance-only learning. We all want to be fully in-person in the fall, but rates of COVID-19 infection are changing so rapidly, we have a responsibility to plan for the possibility of a return to distance learning to keep our community safe.”

The district plans to offer a virtual-only option for families and students that are at a high-risk for infection or for those that prefer their children to stay at home.

In early August, officials will decide what type of schedule teachers and students will use.

We’re continuing to work closely with the Tulsa Health Department, and we will look to Dr. Dart and his team for guidance about whether we can safely return to in-person learning.
TPS Superintendent Deborah A. Gist

TPS board members will consider and possibly vote on the calendar options in a meeting scheduled for June 29, 2020.

To view the board meeting in full, click here

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