Kingsport schools conducting online survey about calendar

Rick Wagner • Nov 8, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Think city schools started too early this year or shouldn’t have had a weeklong fall break?

If you have an opinion about the Kingsport school system’s 2010-11 and later calendars, you have through Friday to make your voice heard this year.

The school system’s annual online calendar survey — available at www.k12k.com — will wrap up shortly after 11:59 p.m. Friday. The survey gives students, faculty, staff, parents and others the opportunity to have input on things like the starting date for the school year, length or existence of a fall break, and the possibility of extending the school day to pick up extra days for weather, illness or professional development.

“It looks like we’ve had about 1,300 people respond,” said Amy Greear, Kingsport City Schools spokeswoman. “We had about 1,400 respond last year.”

Additional questions have been added this year to gauge interest in alternative school calendars, including non-traditional calendars some call “year-round school,” extended school days and a lengthened school year.

Greear and Carolyn McPherson, assistant superintendent for academic support and initiatives, put together options for the survey and presented them to the Kingsport Board of Education last month. The BOE offered input, and Greear put the survey in final form and online.

On Nov. 16, the Monday after the Friday deadline, Greear said she will begin a summary and compilation of the survey results and present them to the BOE at a Nov. 19 work session.

A vote on the 2010-11 calendar is to come at the regular Dec. 3 meeting. The board also has talked about doing a two-year calendar, with the second year a basic skeleton calendar subject to some revision.

The survey asks parents about a range of start dates, Aug. 2-9, 2010. In general, the later start dates would mean a shorter or no fall break, while an earlier start date would allow a longer fall break.

One option is to start school some other day than Monday.

“We typically started on a Monday the past couple of years,” Greear said.

The current calendar has three weather makeup days built it, but the survey asks about interest in making the school day longer to bank days for weather, professional development or mass illness.

Most of the questions focus on the first 90 days, before the holiday break. The second 90 days are more set, especially with Tennessee’s decision for this and ensuing school years to allow Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program tests to be given in April instead of March, giving more classroom preparation time before those tests.

A sub-survey for parents on child care use and needs also is available.

A computer will be made available at each school for parents to fill out the survey if they do not have access to a home computer.

For more information on the school calendar survey contact the KCS Community Relations Office at 378-2123.

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