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Estacada School District continues to consider calendar


ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Some of the students at Estacada High School, such as junior Oleg Kravets, would prefer a four-day week schedule.District leaders were pleased to receive more than 700 responses to the school calendar community survey.

The survey, which polled participants about their preference for a traditional, four-day or year-round calendar, received responses from 186 students, 155 staff members and 375 parents and guardians.

“Their voices have been heard, and we appreciate their input,” said Scott Sullivan, director of curriculum and instruction for the district.

“We got a lot of individual perspective from the survey,” added human resources coordinator Sabrina LaLonde.

The majority of respondents, 164, identified a traditional calendar as their preferred choice. This was followed by 141 for a four-day calendar and 90 respondents for a year-round calendar.

The majority of all three groups — students, staff, and parents — said they preferred a traditional calendar over a four-day week or year-round calendar.

In total, 410 respondents identified a year-round calendar as their least preferred choice.

Sean Tripp, president of the Estacada Educators Association, said the union did not have a preference between the existing traditional calendar and a four-day calendar.

“Generally, there’s not much support for a year-round calendar,” he said.

Tripp sees many benefits in a four-day week.

“It would provide teachers with more time for preparation and professional development,” he said. “Staff members are often happier in a four-day week because of the opportunity to refine their classes more.”

Tripp worked in a four-and-a-half-day week when he was previously employed by the Mount Vernon School District. School went until noon on Fridays.

“It worked out well for sports games because we would have games on Friday night and Saturdays,” he said. “Student (athletes) didn’t have to miss school or come home late on school nights.”

Some students would prefer a four-day week.

Oleg Kravets, a junior at Estacada High School, said the extra day off would be beneficial.

"I play sports, so the day off would be good for practices," he said.

Tripp said he didn’t believe there would be a significant financial savings between a four-day and traditional week.

“A four-day week would affect the hours of classified staff, but teachers would be there (at school) during the fifth day,” he said.

Nearby in the Corbett School District, which switched to a four-day week 17 years ago, superintendent Randy Trani also said the savings between a four-day and five-day week is not significant.

“We do save a bit from not having to run the buses on that fifth day,” he said.

Estacada School District’s calendar committee will create a recommendation for a two year academic calendar, which will include all holidays, student contact days and professional development days, to present to superintendent Marla Stephenson, who will then bring a recommendation to the board for approval at the March board meeting.

The committee may recommend remaining on a traditional schedule.

“It’s our ultimate mission to do what’s best for our students, and that will underscore our decision,” Sullivan said.