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School board discusses next year’s calendar, bell times, student attendance

By Staff | Nov 22, 2011

Many discussions were held during a school board briefing meeting Tuesday that dealt with next year’s calendar, a slight change in bell times and student attendance.

The school board discussed the proposed 2012-2013 school calendar during its meeting. The proposed first day back for students is scheduled for Aug. 8, with their final day being May 23.

Dr. Greg Adkins, chief human resource officer, said the calendar committee, which had more than 30 members, had some healthy conversations concerning the 2012-2013 school year. The committee, he said, tried to limit the days off students had in the middle of the week, so there would not be a break in the continuity of student learning.

He said in the end they put together a calendar that has student achievement as the first goal.

Another point that Adkins addressed during the meeting dealt with where the hurricane days were positioned within the calendar. The first proposed hurricane make-up day is scheduled in October and the other two days are in May.

“The purpose of that is so that, again, you put that calendar close together and you don’t have interruption throughout the course of the year,” Adkins said.

Board chairman Mary Fischer said the committee did a great job in creating a calendar that definitely provides efficiency in instruction.

Board member Jeanne Dozier said those who serve on the calendar committee are a very dedicated group of people that go in with a focus of putting together the best calendar for student achievement.

“This is such a good calendar,” she said when comparing last year’s with this year’s.

Dozier said a lot of the members were concerned about having days off in the middle of the week, which she was happy to see the days off for the students were either at the beginning or end of the week.

“The continuity of student learning will continue,” she said.

Board member Jane Kuckel, who was a member of the calendar committee, said she was impressed with the process the committee goes through to reach an agreement.

“We all have to come to a consensus,” she said. “It was really a treat for me to be there and be a part of that whole process of where we do come to consensus.”

A slight change in school bell times were also addressed during the meeting, which will later come before the board for approval.

Dr. Alberto Rodriguez, chief administrative officer, said the contact time the students will have with the teachers is the same amount of time as in previous years. He said the process is painless, safe, secure and physically prudent and it does not disturb the educational operational way that the district does its business.

He said they did not flip the high school bell times with the elementary schools. He said they kept tiers one and two the same so students would not have to stand outside at the bus stop for any longer period of time than needed.

The only thing Rodriquez said that was affected was slightly shortened breakfast times. He said although the staff felt that they could serve the kids with a reduced time, a plan B was presented to address any issues.

Plan B includes implementation of a palm scanner point of sale, which will increase the current system by twice the speed.

Sonny Stelmacki, food and nutrition service assistant director, said they were already in the mode to speed up their service lines during breakfast. He said the proposed plan will slide in perfectly.

“We will not have any problems at all,” Stelmacki said. “We are confident that we can go ahead and proceed.”

Rodriquez said they feel that the bell times provide a cleaner and more uniformed bell time for schools, which are expected to have a net savings of $1.5 million.

The proposed bell times for elementary schools in Cape Coral that have a current start time at 8 a.m. has a proposed start time for 7:55 a.m. includes Caloosa Elementary School, Cape Elementary School, Hector A. Cafferatta Jr. Elementary School, Pelican Elementary School, Skyline Elementary School and Trafalgar Elementary School. The day for those schools will end at 2:10 p.m.

Parents will have the option to drop their child off as early as 7:30 a.m. for a 25-minute breakfast.

The elementary schools in Cape Coral that have a current start time of 9:15 a.m., have a proposed start time of 8:55 a.m., including Diplomat Elementary School, Gulf Elementary School and Patriot Elementary School. The day for those schools will end at 3:10 p.m.

Parents will have the opportunity to drop their child off as early as 8:30 a.m. for a 25-minute breakfast.

The proposed bell times for middle schools in Cape Coral that have a current start time at 9:45 a.m., will have a proposed start time of 9:35 a.m. include Caloosa Middle School, Challenger Middle School, Diplomat Middle School, Gulf Middle School, Mariner Middle School and Trafalgar Middle School. The day for those schools will end at 3:50 p.m.

Parents will have the opportunity to drop their child off as early as 9:15 a.m. for a 20-minute breakfast.

The high schools in Cape Coral that have a current start time of 7:15 a.m., have a proposed start time of 7:05 a.m., including Cape Coral High School, Ida S. Baker High School, Island Coast High School and Mariner High School. The day for those schools will end at 1:35 p.m.

Parents will have the opportunity to drop their child off as early as 6:45 a.m. for a 20-minute breakfast.

Robert Morgan, transportation director, said everything that has been done will not compromise safety.

“In fact, we are making it safer,” he said, adding that the proposed bell times will not disrupt the students.

The last topic the school discussed during the briefing meeting consisted of a few more changes to the attendance policy.

The first of the change in verbiage to the policy altered one word from “shall” to “may.” The change states “for enforcement of compulsory school attendance purposes, three unexcused tardies or unexpected early sign-outs may, at the discretion of the school principal to be considered equal to one day of absence.”

The other policy change that was addressed in the policy dealt with interventions for three tardies or three early sign-outs within 30 calendar dates. For any additional tardies or sign-outs the school will have two interventions instead of one.