Friday, August 28, 2009

Hot topic: SFUSD makes changes for next year

An SF K Files visitor asked me to post the following:
Next school year will start on August 16, 2010. SFUSD has changed its policy, from a 10 day wait to a 3 day wait, to drop any students who are not at the school where they are enrolled. What that means is any students who are still on vacation on August 19 will lose their place at Clarendon (or any other district school.)


  1. 1. Where did you get the info re changing to a 3-day count? It sounds like people are getting called before the 10-day count has ended, but that doesn't mean it's gone to a 3-day count. But perhaps there has been a change I haven't heard about?

    2. Is it really so unreasonable to expect a child to be at school on the first day? Yes, the 1st day of school comes earlier next year, but that still gives people 2+ months to take a family vacation. And the district gave us plenty of notice about the earlier start to the 2010-2011 school year.

    Change is hard, but there are sound reasons to move up the school year. Especially at the high school level, it makes a lot of sense to end the semester before winter break.

  2. I realize this has been discussed elsewhere, so forgive me if this is already clear to many of you, but why is school going to be starting so early? I've already had to cancel our involvement in a regular family reunion next year (week set year in advance.) I realize no one really cares about this but me, but surely other people will be affected in anticipated or unanticipated ways...

  3. It's being adjusted to work more in line with the academic calendar and grading periods. Finals and the grading periods for middle and HS (and I assume ES, too) will be done by the winter break. As it was, kids came back and then had two weeks before finals. For kids in these grades, that meant no real break - assignments, projects, etc. during the holidays - which also puts a drag on families.

    It also allows for more partnership with City College classes, which makes a real difference for many HS (and even some MS) kids. The class schedule aligns with theirs, now, so that more kids can access and participate in that resource.

    It's an adjustment for all of us, but the good news is that school let's out earlier - so SF families can take advantage of better flight costs before prices typically go up in June! That's what we'll be planning to do.

    I hear a lot of grumbling about 'back in my day' - but the new SFUSD calendar is exactly what it was back when I went to school in the 60s and 70s in another state - so it isn't unusual.

  4. I should also add that I think SFUSD did a good job of managing and gave families and organizations that work with schools enough time to adjust to the change. They floated the idea over a year ago and listened to feedback on it. Based on that, they gave it another year for everyone to plan.

    It'll be a short summer next year (but for many of us, one less week to have to plan and pay for a camp!)

  5. I am furious about the calendar change for next year, as are many parents I know. Why was there no parent involvement in this decision? I DO NOT want my kids in school in August! This is when we have nice weather. And when other people have summer vacation. It greatly narrows the window of available summer weeks to overlap vcation with family/friends. SFUSD kids will have less chances at camps (many do not start until late June and go thru Labor Day). And at my kids' school there is NO shade, they are absolutely miserable when it is hot (August). So what if they need to change things for the high schoolers - would it be so hard to have them on a different schedule? To me this is another blatant example of the SFUSD changing something without regard to family quality of life and without proper involvement of parents at all levels. (WoodruffLong, what discussion..? We never heard about the change, or any discussion of said change until it was a done deal). Yet another reason to get the heck out of the SFUSD. Not that I need another one. A week less of camp to pay for? Summer camps are where my kids LEARN and get to run, play, and be kids. School is a hot box where they are trapped at a desk doing No Child Left behind mindless tasks and a 15-minute recess once a week is the HIGHLIGHT of their week.

  6. So what if they need to change things for the high schoolers - would it be so hard to have them on a different schedule?

    As a parent with kids of different ages, I can say it would be a hardship to have them on different vacation calendars, especially in terms of planning big family trips. Also, as my eldest moves deeper into middle school and gets more homework and more pressure to re good grades, I can see the wisdom of ending the first big marking period before the holidays. Such a drag to be worrying about such things over the holidays. We're not at the point of looking at City College classes, but I understand that cross-registration is an issue there--coinciding with their schedule.

    All that said, I am on a srictly personal level not thrilled with the new schedule as it does not mesh with our family's schedules elsewhere in the country. In fact, it worsens a situation that is already out of whack; our relatives' kids seem to get out of school in late June and return well after Labor Day. I believe others have raised this issue too. It comes down to competing issues. It's not so much a bad vs. good decision but where you put the emphasis. The district is trying to raise student achievement, and is less concerned with my family's travel plans. I'm in the minority in even having the means to travel, after all. I get that.

    There was in fact a time for parental input and it was publicized on several lists that I saw, including at both of our school sites. Not sure if the answer wasn't already pre-determined (sigh), but they did at least postpone the decision for one year, which totally made sense given that many of us had already made summer plans and so had the local summer camps and programs.