Joplin School District Holds Public Hearing on Calendar That Adds Back Six Days

Joplin School District Holds Public Hearing on Calendar That Adds Back Six Days
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The Joplin school district holds a public hearing on its proposed school calendar.

The current one at one hundred sixty-four days continued cuts made in 2014 when construction needed to be completed at the high school.

That drew concerns from teachers and patrons.

So the proposed calendar put some days back.

Newspaper and yearbook adviser Mary Crane served on the Joplin schools calendar committee which for the first time included students and parents. She said, “There are certainly disciplines that really need that face time and so I was representing that particular viewpoint as well as we have dual credit and more importantly the advanced placement classes this year that we will be done with school before they take those advanced placement tests.”

She wants days added back to the school calendar. On days cut she said, “It does accelerate the pace. So, when I heard the last day was May 11th for this year, suddenly then, I had to contact the publisher. We need to move up delivery date which backs up our deadline dates. So, it’s a snowball effect in terms of what we can accomplish.”

Joplin area catholic schools adopted the Joplin school district calendar and one teacher at St. Peter’s Middle School says cutting ten days forced her to consolidate or cut lessons. Math teacher Heidi Gardner said, “I was scared I wasn’t going to be able to cover as much material as I needed to, to get them prepared for high school. To get them prepared for seventh grade or eighth grade. It’s not productive. It isn’t. It’s more of a drill and kill.”

To make up for the cut days, the district added an extra ten minutes to the school day. Asked if that helped, Crane said, “No. I think that becomes a number game. In terms of what’s best for students, I don’t think adding minutes to the end of the day or inside of the day, was any help.”

But executive director of secondary education Jason Cravens says, “It’s what you do with your time that counts. And that’s really where student achievement is.” Cravens argued going purely by the number of days can be deceptive.

He says, “It is deceptive because some schools let off early “x” numbers of days a week or others take half days, so number of days is not an accurate reflection of how many hours or minutes the students and teachers have contact with each other.”

So a compromise of sorts in the proposed calendar as the extra ten minutes would stay in place but teachers get more face time to the tune of six extra school days. That would put Joplin students in school one hundred seventy days for the year.

With days added back, Catholic schools may again follow the Joplin calendar but have yet to formally decide.

Carl junction approved its calendar last night at one hundred seventy-four days, while Webb city kids will attend one hundred seventy-five.