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1/9/2014 6:02:00 AM
New Kingman school calendar may be one change too many for district
Parents, teachers split between old and new schedules
Parent Mollie Simmons, accompanied by her son, Asim Moncrease, 8, and daughter, Nola Moncrease, 2, asks questions about babysitting schedules for her children during a town hall meeting at Hualapai Elementary School. (KIM STEELE/Miner)
Parent Mollie Simmons, accompanied by her son, Asim Moncrease, 8, and daughter, Nola Moncrease, 2, asks questions about babysitting schedules for her children during a town hall meeting at Hualapai Elementary School. (KIM STEELE/Miner)
Parent Kayla Crowe, whose children attend Mount Tipton School in Dolan Springs, discusses her concerns with KUSD staff and Governing Board members during a town hall meeting at Hualapai Elementary School. (KIM STEELE/Miner)
Parent Kayla Crowe, whose children attend Mount Tipton School in Dolan Springs, discusses her concerns with KUSD staff and Governing Board members during a town hall meeting at Hualapai Elementary School. (KIM STEELE/Miner)
Two subjects on workshop agenda
A Kingman Unified School District Governing Board workshop is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. Friday at Chicago Title Insurance Co., 2699 E. Andy Devine Ave. The Board will discuss the proposed three-year school calendar and the parent handbook on discipline. The public is invited to attend but will not be allowed to speak during the workshop.

Kim Steele
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Parent Mollie Simmons was so disturbed Tuesday by the discussion of a new school-year calendar for the Kingman Unified School District that after asking her questions, she left the town hall meeting at Hualapai Mountain Elementary a half hour before it was finished.

"This is the first time I've attended one of the three town hall meetings, and one of my concerns is where I'm going to put my son during the time off," said Simmons, whose 8-year-old son, Asim Moncrease, attends Hualapai. "Also, Asim is in the accelerated program here and he's already having trouble keeping up with it. With a new schedule, he's going to speed through the program too fast and he won't be getting any down time."

Simmons said she works a full-time job, her husband has two jobs and while her mother baby-sits for Asim and his sister, Nola Moncrease, 2, during holidays and summer break, the grandmother is in her 70s and can't make big changes. Simmons, who asked KUSD staff if studies had been done about the success rate of a new calendar and whether receiving more money from the federal government was behind the decision to consider it, said it sounded like the district had already made its mind up.

About 75 parents and teachers showed up for the town hall meeting, which was the third in several months at various schools. KUSD staff members, including Superintendent Roger Jacks, fielded questions from the stage about changes in child care, funding for the new schedule, how long it would last, lengths of family vacations, opportunities for student summer employment and more. For the first time, all five members of the KUSD Governing Board attended and voiced their opinions on the change.

Under the new schedule, which would last 180 days, students would have a two-week break in the spring and the fall, a regular winter break and a six-week break in the summer. Currently, students attend school for 180 days, but have one week off in the spring and the fall and nine weeks off during the summer. KUSD staff reiterated throughout the meeting that the proposed new schedule is not year-round. Extra tutoring time, called intersessions, would be available for students needing help.

Jeri Wolsey, curriculum director for KUSD, said surveys to teachers and parents throughout the district showed that parents preferred the traditional school calendar over the proposed 45-10 calendar by 1,099 to 363. But teachers favored the 45-10 calendar over the traditional calendar by 251 to 133. Wolsey then offered a list of reasons from teachers and parents in favor of and against both calendars.

Reasons for the traditional calendar included:

• more summer camps and activities for students

• teachers get a real break from teaching

• older students have time to get a summer job

• children split between two homes have longer visitation during summer break.

Reasons against the traditional calendar included:

• more time spent on review of the previous year's material at the beginning of the school year

• remediation offered in the summer is often too little and too late

• needed professional development for teachers is harder to obtain

• finding appropriate child care can be difficult with many people going on vacation.

The 45-10 calendar also featured a list of reasons in favor of the schedule. It included:

• opportunities for families to take small trips throughout the year

• teacher and student stress lessened with regular breaks throughout the school year

• decrease in child care expenses

• students don't have to re-learn old material because the breaks are shorter.

Reasons against the 45-10 schedule included:

• lessened possibilities of students getting jobs during the two-week breaks

• summer programs are shortened

• students may lose out on internships

• dissatisfaction among high schools because the schedule impacts sports.

Parent Tracy Hurlburt, who has a junior at Kingman High School and a kindergartener at Manzanita Elementary School, showed up at the town hall meeting to protest the proposed shorter breaks for vacations. Hurlburt said many people's best memories of their childhoods were the long summer vacations to other parts of the country they got to take while school was out of session.

"What right do they have to take that away from this generation?" asked Hurlburt. "My daughter in high school has perfect attendance, but she's going to lose that status because we're going on vacation no matter what they say. The district has no right to dictate to us when we can take our vacations."

After the audience's questions and comments, members of the Board presented their thoughts on the proposed schedule change.

Laurie Voss Barthlow said she has children attending schools in the district and is in favor of the calendar change and the shorter summers. Barthlow said she understands that the change is a big issue in the community and is not opposed to waiting a year to implement it.

"We're also sympathetic to the concerns from teachers that there is too much change coming too soon," said Barthlow. "But we have a 30 to 40 percent failure rate on our AIMS tests right now. We're flunking out on AIMS and now we're staring down the barrel of the new PARCC test. Where we're coming from as a district is trying to carve out some time during the school day to give our students the extra assistance they need."

AIMS stands for Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards, a testing system that is being replaced by the PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, test. It's part of Common Core, which was implemented this year.

Board members Jeri Brock and Bruce Ricca didn't weigh in on the issue, but member Debbie Francis said she hasn't made her mind up yet, despite what parents and teachers say is a done deal.

Francis does not have children attending school in the district.

"I'm still listening to people about this issue," said Francis, noting she hopes area childcare providers will work with parents if the schedule change takes place.

"The Board's mission is academics for all students, and we have to make decisions that serve everyone in the district the best we can. We have to do something, because what we have right now is not working very well."

Board member Charles Lucero said the Board's goal is to provide a foundation for the success of the district's students. Lucero said he is looking at whether the schedule change will increase academic achievement, be best for the community and be consistent for teachers, parents and students.

So far, said Lucero, he doesn't have an answer for all of those questions, but is hoping to soon.

ICT - Arizona Sommers Cooling and Heating
Related Stories:
• Questions about the new Kingman school schedule?
• Kingman school schedule change delayed for a year
• Kingman school calendar vote set for today
• School district seeks input on year-round schedule

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2014
Article comment by: THE TEA PARTY IS ON KOCH

"More reason for charter schools"

Who pays for sending kids to charter school? Their parents? Not bloody likely! is always the taxpayers who get stuck with the bill. Too many charter schools in Arizona is the problem!

Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2014
Article comment by: buster brown

i just love people who expect the schools to not only educate their children but to babysit them as well.

Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2014
Article comment by: Just Sick About This

As for the comments that criticized the concerned parent who was worried that teachers will need to rush through an already challenging curriculum, that is a concern of many teachers as well and if you don't understand that you don't really understand this issue.
In reading back over past articles covering this topic it is clear that the DO is flipping and flopping and has no clear vision for this plan.
I am an educator and a parent who does not let her children miss school whenever possible, but if this new calendar is adopted and interferes with extended family visits and sport camps that we have already planned my kids, along with plenty of other students I imagine, will miss the start of the school year for the first time.
When all is said and done I can come back early myself for my students, teach them their material In the timeframe dictated, and will enjoy the 2 weeks off with my children, but am deeply concerned that this calendar will be adopted, money will be wasted, and no good will come from it. And further, the DO will continue to steamroll through the concerns of teachers and parents in order to benefit their own agenda.

Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2014
Article comment by: Concerned Educator

I am a teacher in the district and a mother of 4. I, along with many of my fellow educators, have been fighting against this new calendar for many of the reasons explained above. I taught in a school in a different state that was nearly taken over by the state and turned around to become a nationally recognized school. What made the difference was lowering class sizes, a focus on resources - both material and human, high expectations for students, teachers, and parents, and CONSISTANCY!
The district office has thrown change after change at the schools without really looking at the effects before going to the next one. There are issues facing this district that won't be improved by rearranging the calendar. I absolutely love my students, my school, and the educational experience my children have received, but I know not all schools in Kingman are the same. I was lucky enough to find a job at Kingman's "A" school and have not been anywhere else. What I hear time and time again from teachers and families who have come from other Kingman schools is that there is a difference in the teachers and the school environment that sets it apart. Why not use what is working in some of Kingman's schools to help others?

Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2014
Article comment by: Answers Please

What do you mean it works at KAOL? Exactly what are we the tax payers paying for? How many hours are all the students in classes and how many days a year do they go to school?

Posted: Saturday, January 11, 2014
Article comment by: What the??

Thats the point i was making in an earlier post 'concerned citizen'.

Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014
Article comment by: Against New Calendar

What makes the school district think that 45-10 would improve their schools? Do they have any evidence, or is it just their feeling? Didnít schools in Lake Havasu and Las Vegas switch back to a regular calendar? If so, why did they do this?

When you look for studies, you find that 45-10 isnít really as great as some think. A recent book on the matter says, ďFor example, a review of 39 studies found that modified school calendars have a very small, insignificant, effect on achievement.Ē The book is The Effects of Modified School Calendars on Student Achievement and on School and Community Attitudes, and it was published in 2003. Has 45-10 really changed that much in ten years? I doubt it. Google the studies. Youíll find that there is very little evidence in favor of 45-10. It just isnít that great.

These kinds of calendars have been around for years. They arenít that great. You either like the 45-10 calendar or not, but the calendar probably wonít result in better grades or performance on the stateís test. Thatís what the studies say. Thatís what other districts usually say.

I vote no to a 45-10 calendar.

Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014
Article comment by: Pros Cons

There's pro's & con's to both sides of this calendar (45/10) & with Traditional. However, the list of Con's in the article seems rather shortened compared to what was broadcast at the Town Hall, missing from that Con list that was displayed. Addressing academic issues is needed.. It is up to the student and parent(s) for starters. Start retention! Parents have a job, students need to be held responsible. Since when is a D average an earned enough grade for any student to play in school sports? That is just crazy! That is up to the school system to redirect that plan and they need to. How is that something to be proud of? So while you are in a tizzy over your C average school district it is you, the school officials and board who are allowing students with a D average to play sports instead of focus on academics. Childcare is an issue, not that the school system is designed to babysit, but daycares by state law are required to have a maximum occupancy that must be followed. 7000 kids in the school district so where do 3/4 or more of them go? If this fall break is designed for "retention of material" and "family vacations" that really doesn't make sense when sports take place and the intersession isn't mandatory. Think this through more, lot of gray area here!!!!!!!

Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014
Article comment by: concerned citizen

The solution is easy! Go to a 4-day work week! On Friday, have all the kids come in that need extra tutoring or whatever.

Kids will love it! Teachers will love it! The employees in the school district will like it! And the parents will like it as opposed to their kids being off for 2 weeks straight!

How are parents going to handle things with their kids being left home alone for 14 days straight? Everyone knows they will have to go outside and probably get into trouble. When they come back to school, everything will have to start over.

It's soooo simple a 4-day work week! It works at the Academy, it works at Mt Tipton, why wouldn't it work here? Anybody...?

Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014
Article comment by: Kristine Brand

As to the comments by Frank Harris, I am the spouse to Tracy Hurlburt and the mother to our 7 children, 4 of which have graduated with honor roll. The comments that my husband made with regards to vacation were taken a little out of context. Family connections are very important to us, and with most of our family living far away, we feel it's important to spend time with them too. I work in the social services field here in our community and what I see is that family values are lacking. I can assure you, academics DO NOT COME 2nd in our family we work with our children on their school work, we hold our children accountable for their work (& behaviors), we communicate with their teachers, develop plans to handle situations (when they arise), and we participate in school functions/ meetings, such as this one. We feel that children need the break that has historically come from the summer session ... not only for family vacations, but also much, much more (ex:opportunities to seek out summer jobs, attend camps, create memories). When you look at individual success, I and my husband feel that along with academics, children need to also have other opportunities for self growth, which can lead to a "well-rounded" individual and hopefully be an asset to our future community.

Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014
Article comment by: schools are not babysitters

Schools are not day cares. if you as a parent can't afford a child don't have one. School is for learning not for parents to get rid of their mistakes. If your at work pay for daycare when your kid is out of school

Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Harris

The statement by the one parent says it all, "...we're going on vacation no matter what they say."

Where does academics fall? Well I guess it's second to a vacation. I suspect you would never hear that from a parent in India or China.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: Thats what the trunancy law is for

@ Allen Kennis

.... and thats why they have such a thing on the lawbooks as a 'Truancy Law', however, they just need to enforce it like they did in the older days.
Back when i was going to school(60s - 70s) if we didnt show up for school then truancy officers was knocking on our doors. Not that way nowadays that i am aware of though.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: Oh Ya

Let's not forget the teachers are there to facilitate and teach. The teachers are a minority in this situation as the number affected outweighs what the teachers desire.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: I Agree (Partially) With Just J

If we must go with a year round calendar, why not adopt something that is much more similar to others nationwide? Move spring break to late March/early April, definitely move start of school back to early September or at least late August. This way our schedule matches up better with students' extended family out of state, reducing absenteeism. Also, families relocating to Kingman bring new students to school in late August and early September so their children have to play catch up when they get here, potentially driving down test scores. As for late start Wednesday...spend one day working at a school and you'll understand why there is a genuine need for quiet, uninterrupted, productive work time before, not after, school hours.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: jack p

While changing the schedule is an issue for many families i am willing to be that they would be willing to make the change if it was for the success of their children. I know I would! This is not the real issue. what about the funding? after leaving this meeting I felt more uneasy due to their lack of answeers/planning. I am not not against the change but they need to educate themselves and the public more before making the decision. There is a lot at stake here besides funding for the school. it is our kids futures. One last thought to ponder though... manzanita is an A school and Hualapai is a B on a regular 180 day schedule. What is being done within these schools that is not being done in others. These schools would be excellent places to look for the answeer. Is it resources, leadership issues or what? I urge you all to ask more questions and the Minor to give more accurate reporting of the important details. please attend the up coming board meetings to voice you opinion. For goodnes sake we need them to make more money so we can get a good ssi check when we are old...That is a joke.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: Haste Makes Waste

Friday's Governing Board workshop is scheduled to occur when teachers, staff and most parents are still at work. As stated above, "the public is invited to attend but will not be allowed to speak during the workshop." That sums this decision making process up nicely. Board members and administrators with students of their own understand the pros and cons and are weighing the public input. The rest are sorely out of touch with the needs of students growing up in a time that is several generations (and financial cycles) apart from their own This is a rushed decision that reeks of desperation. Little forethought given about how to execute with minimal chaos nor any hard evidence that doing so would result in certain, measurable success. If the Board succumbs to this pet project of an influential few, I fear the District will lose students, teachers, money and sacrifice opportunities (sports scholarships, summer jobs) for those who remain. If the 45/10 calendar is approved, it will then be dumped in the laps of overworked and underpaid staff charged with trying to make sense of it all for unhappy parents and struggling students. Students will continue to skip school whenever it suits their parents' needs, regardless of the calendar. In short, more of the same next year.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: Pro Traditional Calendar

Calendars don't teach kids, teachers do.

Most districts that go to 45-10 return to a traditional calendar. 45-10 has been around for years, and it has almost always been a failure. 45-10 is not a miracle cure that is going to fix Kingman's schools.

Here are the facts:

Since 1980, ninety-five percent of schools that tried year-round school have returned to a traditional calendar.

In 1993, all but one of the 544 schools in the Los Angeles school district voted to abandon their 45-15 schedule.

In San Diego, 27 year-round elementary schools lost $1.4 million when they went to a modified calendar similar to what Kingman is proposing. Student absenteeism between July and September cost the school district over a million dollars, and students missed a lot of schooling.

One of the largest districts in the nation, Chicago, announced that it would remove all of its schools from the year-round calendar just last January. Among other reasons, the district stated that their parents were unhappy about daycare and vacation issues.

Year-round calendars have been dropped in the following Arizona communities: Cibecue, Humboldt, Mesa, Mobile Elementary District, Roosevelt Phoenix, Phoenix, Scottsdale Unified, Sunnyside, Tribal, and Yuma. . .among many others.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: Stella Kaye

Many of the school districts who have adopted this calendar have not had positive results - including Bullhead. When it came time for the intersessions there was not enough money or interest to carry them through. The District Office does not have a set plan for these intersessions but are planning them for 4 HALF DAY sessions for the October and March breaks ONLY. That is a total of 4 DAYS over the school year to help catch kids up.
As it is a teacher may not have their full roster until Labor Day and now we're going to start in July? The District Office says we can't get students to come to after school tutoring but we're going to get them to return for half day sessions while the rest of the school is on vacation?
Perhaps change is needed but the schools are still adjusting to the various curriculums, redistricting, and grading changes that have been thrown at them. Not ALL schools in the district are failing and the collaboration some have now experienced have had very positive results for students and teachers. Why not use the valuable resources the district already have rather than constantly jumping off someone else's bandwagon and cutting of teacher input?

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: Allen Kennis

I vote no. Kids who want to be lazy will still drop out. I think the drop out rate will actually increase. They'll get burned out with nothing to look forward to. Summer vacation isn't even that long anymore. They all go back in August anyways. (Used to be September when I was in school. I was wondering when they were going to cut it out altogether.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: sometimes change is good

Child care issue? one extra week in winter, one extra week in spring and 2 less in summer? Cost balances.

If her son is having trouble keeping up without any change, perhaps he shouldn't be in the accelerated class.

I can see the extra week in winter and spring to help students catch up before final grades come out.

I say try it, but wait another year to get everything thought out and finances figured out.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: No Name

Its interesting to note that for the past few years KUSD has used Las Vegas as an example of how god things work out. The problem is that in this case, Las Vegas was not able to get the students that needed to come to the Intersessions to raise their knowledge to school any better then we have, and have returned to the traditional school year. This is all for not if the parents are not going to make the kids that need the help go to the intersession and actually work at making up what they are weak on. Its not the high achievers that we need to be at the intersession. With Math scores at 56% in the Middle schools we need the students who need the math skills to be there and participate. The district has said at all three of these meeting that the kids that would benifit the most already refuse to come to tutoring that is offered. This is a simple $250,000 loss of state money going to be poured into this calendar.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: Chris Albuquerque

I am now a grandmother, but my sons attended schools in California that went to a year round schedule, while the change was difficult for childcare once that was worked out, both my sons benefited from the schedule. The learning curve was increased they lost less learning ability because the summer vacation wasn't as long and travelling was easier because their schedule allowed us to visit places during the quieter seasons. One of my sons attended accelerated classes throughout his school and college career his burnout level was decreased by the year round school he had time to decompress while taking academically challenging courses. His teachers were less stressed also which helped them be better teachers. As for work, my sons had summer and part-time jobs and they never had a problem with employers once they explained their availability. There are always plus's and minus's in any change but having had the opportunity to have children in year round school, the schedule worked to everyone's benefit. I worked full-time and was a single parent for many years.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: Jack a Lope

sounds like it is what the district and teachers want. To hec with the parents and students. MORE reason for more charter schools.

as for professional devlopment. My daughter is a teacher at another Az school district. she goes to college for 6 weeks during the summer.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: Nikki Berry

Why don't we decide to implement for the 2015-2016 school year, for one year, and see how that goes.

At the end of that year, we can see how well it worked for us. If the test scores show no improvement, and the parents still don't like it, and we've given it a real go with our kids and our teachers (not some other place that makes no difference to us), then we can go back to the old way for the 2016-2017 year and forward.

I prefer the 2/2/6 (the new) way myself, having been a student at a "traditional" (1/1/9) school, a 2/2/6 school, and a year round school. My opinion is that the 2/2/6 is the better way to go.

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