Thursday, February 4, 2010
The winds of change are upon us...
I have taught at a multi-track year round school for 20 years. We teach the same number of days as a traditional schedule, but I have a different vacation schedule during the year. It also means that we are divided into 5 groups and 1 group is always on vacation, while the other 4 are in session.
We were just informed today that this will be no more. The superintendent has decided that, as part of the budget cuts, we will be single track next year (everyone at the school at the same time) and probably go back to a traditional schedule soon after that. I don't understand this considering that recently I heard President Obama praising year round school schedules. Anyway....
What this means:
* I will end this year on June 25 and have to return on July 16. I normally don't return until August 14th. Major bummer.
* Anytime there is a major change like this, the teacher population changes drastically. Four years ago our principal and assistant principal retired and we had 17 staff members leave or retire because of it. Our school hasn't been the same since....I'm talking in a negative way. I know change is inevitable and can be a good thing, but that hasn't been the case so far (I could write an entire series of posts on this.).
* My breaks will change next year. I now have 3 weeks off in November (great for holiday shopping and getting ready for Thanksgiving) and 3 weeks in March (great for off seasons vacations), but next year I will have 3 weeks off in October and then 3 in February. Not too bad, but then having to adjust to a traditional schedule with no large breaks....major, major bummer. Please be sympathetic. I know you traditional teachers have never had this, but I have had this schedule for 20 YEARS!
* When we move to a traditional schedule we will lose a month of pay in the summer because our contracts overlap. MAJOR BUMMER!
* Our school was built for 500 children and we are at 900 now. With all the students at the school, all the time, we will have overcrowded common areas, like the bathrooms, playground and cafeteria. Our day starts at 7:50 and the kids leave at 1:50. Lunch starts at 10:10 for the kindergarten and ends at 12:15 for the 5th grade. Adding in those extra kids will move lunch about 30 minutes earlier or 30 minutes later.
* One of the reasons I have stayed at my school so long is because of this calendar. I have a 25 minutes commute (one way) everyday. Maybe it's time I moved closer to home.
* Having 2, 3 week chunks of time with Samuel during the year has been great, but the schools close to our house are traditional, so maybe it's best I adjust to the different schedule now, so that when he starts school we'll both be on the same schedule.
I kind of saw this change coming, but I still don't have to like it.
I am curious as to how other schools in other states run things. Please tell me how your school takes care of the following:
* duty coverage before and after school and at recess time
* PE, computer lab, library schedules
* lunch periods
* schedule reading and math blocks
* fit in music or art
* collaboration and prep time for teachers
* hours of operation
* get the community involved
* have stakeholder buy in
I am not a happy camper.......uuuggghhh!