https://danvillesanramon.com/square/print/2015/05/13/school-board-talks-calendar-change


Town Square

School board talks calendar change

Original post made on May 14, 2015

The San Ramon Valley school board learned new details Tuesday about an early draft calendar for the 2016-17 school year that would differ from the district's typical schedule so the first semester would finish before winter break instead of several weeks after.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 4:13 PM

Comments

11 people like this
Posted by dmom
a resident of San Ramon
on May 14, 2015 at 9:35 am

I still don't understand how this change will help the high school students. Now instead of studying for finals after the holidays, they are going to have to study during Thanksgiving and right before Christmas. Forget about Christmas shopping and baking cookies. This will be even more stressful for my child. We also don't like the shortened Thanksgiving break. I understand it would be nice to give the elementary students a break during Halloween, but high school students don't need that time off. Then in May, they get to study for finals over Memorial weekend. No family getaway for that weekend. During the summer, sports programs usually end in the last week of July, so family summer vacations will be crammed into the first 2 weeks of August and school registration will interfere with that schedule. My child enjoys time off to spend with family and friends without the worry of school. I feel the people who responded positively for this change through the survey didn't think about all the negative impacts. Kids today are being pushed too hard, especially in high school. I'd like to hear responses for the positive impacts this change will have on the students.


13 people like this
Posted by Jen ~ Danville
a resident of Danville
on May 14, 2015 at 3:53 pm

I couldn't agree with DMom more ~ August is by far the best summer weather and our kids will be cooped up in a classroom? Kids need time to be kids ~ I miss the days of Summer going until after Labor Day ~ we still got 2 weeks at Christmas, a week at Easter and a Ski week in February too! Give us a proper 3 months at Summer!! For those who want more school, maybe offer a month-long 1 class term in August for kids who want to get ahead as so many colleges offer. In my opinion, family time is awfully hard to come by as it is, and Summer is by far our favorite time of year ~ ending it in August seems so sad. Ruining Christmas with the stress of finals, and having the cold "June gloom" rather than blazing hot August days and nights homework free? No thank you ~ I much prefer Summer break as it used to be.


8 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on May 15, 2015 at 5:58 am

I absolutely agree with the other 2 comments. Just look at our weather right now. May is historically not a warm month, yet this is when all of the end of year activities will be taking place. How many freezing little 5th graders will be standing around at Little Hills for their picnic and how many field days at the middle schools will be ruined by bad weather? August is one of our most gorgeous and also hottest months. Why run A/C and make the kids have PE in 100 degree weather? Not to mention the overlap for parents who are taking college kids to college while going through registration and first day of school at SRVUSD.

Now that this has been proposed, I wish the District would give parents another opportunity to vote on the changes. The survey was vague and did not give details like this calendar does.


3 people like this
Posted by CS
a resident of Danville
on May 15, 2015 at 9:35 am

I agree with the other moms. High school is so stressful these days especially for the juniors when this is their most critical year for college admissions. Our kids are pushed to the limit and to shorten the first semester, and deprive them of study time....and most importantly, family time. Honestly, we have a family vacation scheduled for Aug 6-17, and if the school calendar changes, we will not be able to take a vacation, nor recoup the cost of the lost plane fares.


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Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on May 15, 2015 at 4:20 pm

CS - The proposed calendar changes are for the 2016-2017 academic year (i.e. not this summer).


6 people like this
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on May 15, 2015 at 6:17 pm

I have to wonder a bit about the results of the USD survey. I'm not accusing them of falsifying the results, but the wording of the questions mostly focused on the testing times. The whole early start time/altered winter break thing seems based around 12th graders. Why should everyone else have to change for one grade level out of 13?

If someone else wrote that survey, say like this Derek fellow who always posts snarky things on the Danville Express, I would phrase the questions slightly differently. For example:

1) How do you feel about having your kids back in school at the absolute peak of Summer heat?
Mostly favorable / Don't care because my little Tyler is a tough guy who would never get heat stroke / Mostly unfavorable and why do these maroons at the school district want to run our air conditioning bill through the #[email protected]*ing roof?

2) How do you feel about the likelihood that anyone at the SRVUSD gives two rat's butts about what you think anyway:
Not optimistic / No opinion I'm watching tv right now don't bother me / Sure they have our bet interests at heart and no I'm not the least bit gullible

Well, you get the idea. My basic contemptuous view of the school district bureaucrats is that the majority are politician wannabes who were just smart enough to realize they could get paid more than a senator for doing even less work.


3 people like this
Posted by dmom
a resident of San Ramon
on May 16, 2015 at 9:14 am

Great job Derek. I totally agree on the wording of the survey. I may have answered some of the questions in favor of the change. For example, do you like having homework during the winter break? No, we don't. But that doesn't mean we want to have finals before winter break and change the start date of the school year.

Still haven't seen any responses in favor of the change...


1 person likes this
Posted by Mary
a resident of San Ramon
on May 16, 2015 at 5:45 pm

I also noticed that Spring Break is neither the week before or after Easter in 2017. It is treated as any other 2-day weekend. The District continues to dismiss family traditions and religious holiday observances for most.


1 person likes this
Posted by Frank
a resident of San Ramon
on May 17, 2015 at 2:26 pm

This calendar idea is the result of the close tie between the teachers' union and the board. I have heard that there is a group of high school teachers complaining that their winter break is not relaxing enough because they have to spend time preparing for the end of the semester. The union gives money to elect board members and now it is payback time.


6 people like this
Posted by Valley Native
a resident of San Ramon
on May 18, 2015 at 2:43 pm

As a parent with three SRVUSD students, the survey wording was indeed leading (or misleading, depending on how cynical you are). I dont know why the school year can't be like it used be to when I was an SRVUSD student in the 1980s and 1990s. Start school the day after Labor Day and get out the second week of June. Enough with the mid-semester breaks, teacher workdays, three and four day weekends. I'd rather my family have a real summer break.


4 people like this
Posted by if it ain't broke don't fix it
a resident of Blackhawk
on May 18, 2015 at 6:51 pm

If the school board is interested in reducing the stress of high schoolers, then don't assign so much homework or give the tests earlier and do a project after the final exams.

If the school board is interested in reducing utility costs. Then don't schedule school at the peak of heat. I thought that was the idea with the massive solar panel project

If you want kids to learn better, don't have them coming back to school during the hottest time of the year.

This is such a stupid idea. And how does any survey get a 71% positive rate? That seems flawed.


6 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on May 19, 2015 at 6:55 am

Please stop blaming the union and the teachers. This change from our point of view is driving by parents and the district trying to meet parental needs. If you don't like it talk to the district as a large group. That has worked in the past. As to work days, back in the "old" days there were 172 mandatory days of school, the teachers had 180 days of school, hence 8 work days additional days of school. Later the district mandated 180 days of student days and upped the teacher days to 186. The district also lengthened the school day on top of the extra 6 days. Homework time is addressed in school board policy, at the high school no more than 30 minutes per course per weekday, more for advanced, honors and AP courses. If your child is overworked, stop letting them do so many extra-curricular activities and signing up for so many advanced courses.


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Posted by Douglas
a resident of Blackhawk
on May 19, 2015 at 11:59 am

Teacher - you have got to be kidding! This whole change is driven by the almighty dollar. Neither of my kids' teachers have followed that "homework policy" EVER - one is a sophomore at MV and the other graduated last year!!! Let's all not be misled as the district is NOT looking out for the students. It is all about the teachers, the administration, and MONEY. I am so glad we only have 2 more years in this district!!!!


9 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on May 19, 2015 at 2:10 pm

I agree with changing the school calendar. My Senior at MV has had no time to rest over the last four years during winter vacation or even summer. "Vacations" are spent worrying about how much work she should be doing, rather than spending relaxing and quality time with her family and getting a needed break. Colleges finish all finals before their winter breaks and before their summer breaks, so the students get some quality rest.

Maybe the elementary and middle school parents don't realize yet how much summer homework is given when the child is taking the AP courses in high school. My child would have LOVED to have finished Finals before the winter holiday so she could have gotten some quality, stress-free time. But, right now, there is no break... And getting into a decent college is much more difficult and competitive than years ago, so taking many AP courses is barely an option. It is just expected, unless you plan to go to community college first or not go to college at all. The rates of depression and anxiety in the SR Valley have skyrocketed. It's because there is no real break for these kids in high school. My younger child is just finishing elementary school and he could care less about when he gets his summer vacation, as long as he gets a break from school. Cooler weather? No problem for him. It is not an issue. And nobody has to change any plans for 2015-16. That calendar is already set and will not change, similar to previous years. This is for the 2016-17 calendar. Parents of elementary and middle school kids will understand what I am talking about if the calendar remains the same. FOUR straight years of no real breaks, just homework and studying looming over your child's head when one is trying to enjoy their summer and winter holidays. Talk to any high schooler and you will understand this major problem...


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Posted by AM
a resident of Alamo
on May 19, 2015 at 5:11 pm

The biggest issue for our family is not having the whole Thanksgiving week off. The current proposal is instead to have a couple of long weekends in October. BTW, our kids would be equally stressed having to study over Thanksgiving.

Also, agree the survey questions seemed to be asked in a way that got the result the District wanted. I've already heard a lot of angst from other parents about the proposed change. I bet if they re-surveyed asking simply which of the 2 calendars people prefer - they'd get a very clear result with a straight up or down vote. Fine for the District to share pros/cons for each and let people decide. But this time make it clear what changes/compromises are being made.

If they don't, maybe someone should start an online petition and see how parents and students really feel.


3 people like this
Posted by RobRob
a resident of Danville
on May 19, 2015 at 5:14 pm

I think the valley has a case of "affluenza". Get over yourselves parents. Entitled children are just so pathetic, no wonder every country in the world wants to blow up America.


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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on May 19, 2015 at 5:57 pm

Beth-
The first part of your concerns seem to be solvable by shifting the Christmas break a week - or a few days - later. But if Christmas falls on a Tuesday, and the kids currently would go until Friday the 21st, then I'm not sure how we can change the timing. If Christmas fell on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday though, then we could bump it forward a bit.

As for your high schooler's stress levels, I guess I am still confused how shifting Summer to an earlier start will help. But you are correct that at least in my case our progeny is not in high school yet. Maybe I am missing something, but if the people posting on this board are any indication, I still say the survey results seem fishy.


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Posted by Carolyn
a resident of Blackhawk
on May 19, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Beth - I completely DISAGREE with you and the district on changing the calendar.

First, students in college are completely done with course and professor when finals are done, whereas high school students go back to the same teachers after break. This allows the high school teachers to think it is okay for them to assign projects over the breaks, and my student's teachers have done that almost every year - regardless of the school calendar. I have both a freshman in a top 25 college and a sophomore in high school, so I know what I am talking about, and they both think the idea is stupid. The question I have for you is if your senior felt so overloaded, why did she take so many Honors/AP classes, and please don't give me the college excuse since there are thousands of colleges in this country, and she should only be going to a school where she can compete with her fellow students. Getting into a top school is great if you can keep up, but if a student barely kept up in high school to do so, college is going to be awful.

The teachers will claim this change is because of the parents, and that is absolute garbage. The unions pretty much drive everything and parents have very little say, if any. Fortunately, my family will be done with this horrible district in 2 years, and it won't affect us anymore!


5 people like this
Posted by Theresa L.
a resident of San Ramon
on May 19, 2015 at 8:16 pm

For the parents who are posting that this is a horrible district, can you name a few in the East Bay that are better? I'm curious if you have done some research on this?


2 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on May 20, 2015 at 12:27 am

Carolyn, I don't see any argument presented by you to not change the calendar, so I don't understand your stance; I only see your personal bashing of my child and your judgmental and very vicious opinion of something you know nothing about. The way you speak to others online is more than unbecoming and I think one that speaks in such a way should have their mouth washed out with soap!


2 people like this
Posted by Douglas
a resident of Blackhawk
on May 20, 2015 at 8:13 am

First, Carolyn makes a good point about these students with AP/Honors classes and appropriate colleges, and obviously knows what she is talking about with a couple of older students herself whether you agree or not, Beth. I have a couple of MV high school students as well and look out for the load of classes they want to take, so they do not overdo - something a college counselor also does when students are planning their schedules each semester/quarter. Some of these students take too much, and sometimes we parents need to step in and do our job.

Second, reading Carolyn's and some of the other posts make clear what the point is: a change in school year, will NOT give these students a break as teachers will still assign projects, reports, and papers regardless of when finals are. Think about weekends currently. Students should have their weekends to enjoy their families/friends/free time, and what student in high school in this district does not have weekend homework - AP classes or not? Teachers do not follow that "homework policy" on the SRVUSD website, but its there to cover their tail-ends.

Finally, the district will try and make it seem like we parents had some part in this decision, and for any parent that believes that, get your head out of the sand!


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Posted by Catherine
a resident of Danville
on May 20, 2015 at 8:18 am

Theresa L. Orinda and Lafayette rank quite a bit higher.


2 people like this
Posted by dmom
a resident of San Ramon
on May 20, 2015 at 8:24 am

I like the idea of an online survey that we can present to the district.

Does anyone know how we can accomplish this?


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Posted by Carolyn
a resident of Blackhawk
on May 20, 2015 at 9:06 am

Touchy, touchy - apparently I hit a nerve. Guess I hit a nail right on the head!


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Posted by Maggie- a parent
a resident of Danville
on May 20, 2015 at 10:20 am

If the calendar is changed, so students will be free from academic work over holidays, the holidays should also be FREE FROM MANDATORY ATHLETIC PRACTICES and any other extra curricular performances and practices. The schools, gyms, playing fields, theaters, and all other facilities should be empty.


1 person likes this
Posted by Danville Parent
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on May 20, 2015 at 11:26 am

For those who think the change will benefit high schoolers, I actually think this will be worse. I have a junior, so the change won't affect her, but I also have a 6th grader who will be affected. College applications are due in November for the UC system and by January 1 for most other schools. Under the current schedule, finals don't start until applications are over. Under the proposed change, seniors would have to both apply to college and take finals at the same time. How will this benefit students?

Losing Thanksgiving week is not great, but giving the days to Halloween and not including November 1 does not benefit students. The difficulty with Halloween always was that if the next day was a school day, kids could not sleep in.

I wonder if this is an incremental step towards a year-round schedule?


2 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on May 20, 2015 at 3:21 pm

I predict the SRVUSD will be losing a lot of revenue during the Thanksgiving and Easter holiday's.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on May 20, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Have no doubt there will be many kids "sick" if the new schedule is approved, and since the district is always b****ing about money, they should take that into consideration!


2 people like this
Posted by samantha
a resident of Charlotte Wood Middle School
on May 20, 2015 at 8:52 pm

Dear Beth:
You write that the reason for this proposed change is to reduce stress for high schoolers. But the problem is not when the semester ends, it is with the insane homework load these teachers assign.

Homework policy? Don't make me laugh!!! My middle schooler works hours a night, every weekend, and over every holiday. I anticipate it will be worse in high school.

To switch the calendar will result in:
1. Increased utility costs
2. Higher rates of absenteeism which will cost the district lots of money
3. Irritated staff and students having to work in the heat
4. Messed up vacation and work schedules for tens of thousands of parents
5. Community sports leagues, after school care, camps, etc. having to change their organizations to accommodate SRVUSD's high school parents.

Changing the calendar will also not reduce the stress levels. The teachers will still assign massive work loads. To your own admission Beth, the semester ends in June, but even that does not stop the teachers from assigning summer homework. Now don't get me wrong, it was the pressure from the parents in the first place that drove the teacher to increase the workload. But enough is enough. School anxiety, school phobia and depression are hitting campuses hard right now and there is nothing in place to address this problem. These kids don't qualify for special education and counseling is usually not enough. The answer is usually to give the kids easier classes but that ultimately reduces their educational opportunities.

Most adults couldn't handle an 8 hour work day only to come home and do 3-4 hours of homework each night and on weekends and holiday. I just don't understand why we expect this of KIDS. Changing the calendar is like changing the curtains in a house that needs a new foundation.


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on May 21, 2015 at 12:20 am

Samantha,

You definitely bring up some excellent points. The syllabuses the teachers give the students in high school shock me in terms of the workload, even for non-Honors/AP courses. Many of these classes entail more work and at a higher level of difficulty than my college courses ever did. I think summer homework should be banned entirely, even for the weighted courses. Yes, maybe this is a much more complicated issue than when it first presented itself in terms of the school calendar. There are many more intricate factors involved - issues including the lack of support, homework, and work overload in general. I'm glad you bring them up.

Snarky remarks from commenters here like Carolyn from Blackhawk is not productive with regards to this very serious issue. It's more like she wants to relive her life as a school bully, instead of a grown adult trying to help resolve this major problem. Some of these kids have become suicidal or committed suicide because of all of these complex issues being discussed here. Working against each other will not help these kids. As parents, we need to figure out what is the best way for these kids to be less stressed, to avoid major mental health concerns, and send our thoughts to the SRVUSD Board of Directors.

This article is informative about teen stress, anxiety, and depression in the Bay Area: Web Link

Thank you for your insightful comments Samantha.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of San Ramon
on May 21, 2015 at 6:03 am

OK posters, now what do we do with the common thoughts of this being a BAD idea? There are many cogent arguments in this thread that should be brought to the District as reasons for not implementing these proposed calendar changes. Will they listen? Doubtful but wait and see...


1 person likes this
Posted by Douglas
a resident of Blackhawk
on May 21, 2015 at 8:26 am

First, homework will not change, even if the calendar does

Second, the web link posted by Beth is very misleading as the article does not blame academic sources, it blames, “economic distress, dysfunctional families, absent and preoccupied busy parents, technology obsession, social media…” Like I stated before, PARENTS need to do their job, and this is the exact reason why there placement tests for many of the Honors/AP classes and the schedule sheet is sent home for a parent’s signature. Furthermore, although one poster thought another was “snarky” in her post, she was absolutely correct in parents being aware of what their student can handle and not being afraid to say “no.”

Third, most successful adults DO handle a 10+ hour day and put time in on the evening and weekends – not that our students should need to do that yet, but that point was laughable. In addition, the workforce does not usually get off summer, Christmas, Easter, and all the teacher work days. On the same topic, unless a student takes a 0 period, their day is only 6 hours and forty minutes long. Furthermore, 3 hours a day of home is only 30 minutes a day per class – the allowed amount according to SRVUSD.

Fourth, with regard to regular homework, it is nowhere near college level. I obviously do not know where that poster went to school, but I venture to say not a very difficult one. My student’s English class requires 4 class books and 2 outside reading books read over the course of a year, and the assignments that go along with those books whereas in my college days, it was 5+ books with assignments and papers over a 10 week quarter. That class, along with the rest of them, are nowhere near that level and that includes the Honors classes.

Finally, for those who do not seem to understand why summer homework is given in an AP class, this homework is given as the teacher needs to get in an ENTIRE year of the course and test preparation for the AP test done before the test which is given in the middle of May. These teachers are not teaching this class for your student to get the extra point for their GPA, they are teaching it so your student will be prepared to take the test, do well, and get COLLEGE credit for it, so of course this class is going to be tough. This is all covered in the AP Night at the school if you ever care to attend!


1 person likes this
Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on May 21, 2015 at 11:56 am

Douglas,

It is a rare day that I read your comments and consider them correct. I'm sure the perspective is mutual. However, I personally consider your central premise as correct - PARENTS need to be central and engaged in the academic choices that their children make during their formative years. Easier stated then done.

In my opinion, it is misguided to look at the challenges that parents and their children face each and every school year as simply a lack of awareness of what their kids are signing up to take. You are right that the calendar is not the primary driver of homework stress, etc. It's us as cynical society members, boardroom capitalists and internet board commenters. THIS IS NOT A NEW DISCUSSION (Web Link). The provided link is a scholarly article that is long and verbose but worth a read for those passionate to this discussion. The Gallup organization started polling American families in '49 on this topic. At the height of the McCarthy 'scare' ('59), 2/3rds of America did not want even one more public school day. Even the trusted conservative savant Bill Bennett, who I suspect was still Ronnie's Tsar for Education when you were in college, was a staunch supporter of increasing the average U.S. public year from some 180 to 210+ days. More so, I believe he was even a fan of the Japanese tradition of Juko (Saturday school) for their school-age children.

Why??? It been said over and over again on this topic here and darn near everywhere else. We - as a society - found a way to make youth education a competitive blood sport for class standing, future university acceptance, first-job opportunities and, yes, parental pride amongst many aspects. The last one is the toughest for our community. If one still has school age children, as it appears you do, then you surely must acknowledge the high expectations that get layered in around the middle-school years and then come to a head during the early high school days. Sadly, this generation's children have to be 'right' coming out of the gate as opposed to an earlier era where one might accept compulsory service, join the Peace Corps, work a construction site or back warehouse for a few years before having to get serious about their future. As long as you had a steady job by your 30s, then you were okay. Those days are sadly long gone. This generation has to compete on a global as opposed to a domestic basis for a shot at virtually any level of post high school education. Then they do it all again when they have to jump through rings of fire from broadly differing global economies when time comes to actually look for a paycheck.

We're all guilty of adding to the stress that is felt by society's youth. When we proudly and loudly advertise where our offspring are (or where) seeking their futures, it's ups the ante in the stress game for every parent. When we proclaim that our child has a gilded future because of their AP, IB, etc. workload with stirling successes, we up the same ante.

Lastly, when we publish statements on a related topic like the following, we make the parents who shouldn't be gambling with the hands that they were dealt, go for broke and bet whatever they have left on pushing their offspring to the breaking point in the education game…

(Web Link )Posted by Douglas
a resident of Blackhawk
on Feb 12, 2015 at 6:00 pm
"I really don't consider DVC as going to college. Try 75% go to real college (i.e. a four year) and then compare that - which quite a number do!"

In my book, the public school calendar is but a symptom of a much bigger societal issue. If we keep telegraphing the message that only the best grades and the best university diplomas should be the norm for our kids as opposed to the occasion, then just watch how bad all of this gets over the next 10 to 20 years.


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Posted by Catherine
a resident of Danville
on May 21, 2015 at 12:37 pm

Conservator

Looking at the link you provided, Douglas' comment about DVC was on the topic of SRVUSD touting about what a great district they are.

On the topic at hand, DVC is exactly the point. These days, there is no "right" path to get where you want in life, and I put most responsibility squarely on the parents' shoulders for putting pressure on their students, after that I put it on the teachers for having students grade other students’ work and not keeping grades confidential. It does not matter where you start college, only where you end up, so if a high school graduate needs to start at DVC and transfer so be it - and many do to top schools.

The other problem I did not see your post mention - when you went back into history - is that United States colleges and universities were mostly admitting QUALIFIED AMERICAN applicants. In today's society, those same students are competing for those spots with unqualified minorities (to assuage our guilt about the haves versus have nots – oh, please) and out-of-country students (who are needed to offset those minorities who are given a free ride) so those qualified students have to work that much harder.

Get the college application process back to an equal and fair one for our students (the 14th Amendment, anyone?), get the foreigners and illegal immigrants out, and then the school calendar would not matter as much as the pressure would be taken off.


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Posted by samantha
a resident of Charlotte Wood Middle School
on May 21, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Dear Douglas,
I stand by my statement that a 7 hour school day + minimum 3.3 hours of homework per night, plus homework that spills into every weekend, holiday, teacher work day, and summer is too much for kids. And unlike you with your super star education and work ethic most adults couldn't handle that load for long, either.
I agree it is us as parents that set these expectations of our schools, and I agree that this is probably in large part due to increased globalization and the competition that comes with it. But enough is enough. It is time for common sense and a basic understanding of child/human development to take precedence. Most parents would prefer an emotionally healthy kid who isn't contemplating suicide, is in therapy or on antidepressants over one who gets into UC Berkeley as a freshman.


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Posted by Catherine
a resident of Danville
on May 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Samantha,

I think you need to check your facts. If you are a CW family, your student is only going to school for 6 1/2 hours and homework policy total is only supposed to be an hour and 45 minutes. Also, one period during the day is PE and has no academic stress, and another period is usually an elective. For a middle school student, with that kind of typical schedule, a total of 8 hours and 15 minutes a day is not asking too much. Wait until you get to high school, and then you will understand overload. Although, I am AGAINST the calendar change, but fortunately, my last student will be a senior that year, so we will only have one year of the atrocity and finally be done with this abhorrent district!

Feel free to stand by your statement for your student, but when data is referenced, please get the facts correct. If your student is getting more than 105 minutes of homework a night, you need to take that up with the principal.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on May 21, 2015 at 2:44 pm

Not following how all of this workload and stress on our kids is going to be fixed with a new school calendar?


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on May 21, 2015 at 6:58 pm

FYI Here is the link to SRVUSD's PROPOSED academic calendar for 2016-17.

Web Link

Here's my basic breakdown of what is being discussed here.

School Start Date/Summer Vacation
School would start on Monday, August 15, 2016. Summer vacation would begin on Friday, June 2, 2017.

Spring Break:
Yes, it does appear that the Spring Break for 2017 would be April 3-7, neither coinciding with the Christian Easter holiday (4/16/17) as it has in the past or the Jewish Passover holiday (4/10-4/18/17).

Halloween:
It appears there is a four-day weekend, with the last day being Monday, Oct. 31st (Halloween). Not sure of the purpose of this. I would think people would generally prefer those two extra days for a full week off for Thanksgiving. (More time to argue with your relatives ;) just kidding.)

Thanksgiving:
Would have Wed, Thursday, and Friday off that week (11/23-25) instead of the usual full 5 days we've had in the past. That would make for a 5-day break instead of two weekends plus five days (9 days off straight).

Winter Break:
Would begin on Thursday 12/22; Christmas is 12/25 and Chanukah is 12/12-12/20/17.

Other holidays look to be about the same, including Labor Day, Veteran's Day, Martin Luther King Holiday, President's Day, and Memorial Day.

High School Finals would be 12/19-12/21/16. For high school seniors, the earliest college applications are due by 11/30 (usually for the UC's and Cal State schools). Others for private and out-of-state schools and the Common App are usually due by December or early January, depending on the school, unless one is applying for Early Decision, whereby the applications may be due in October.

*I would only hope that if the calendar does change that the teachers would assign no HW over Winter Holiday for classes that continue to the second semester.


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Posted by Samantha
a resident of Charlotte Wood Middle School
on May 21, 2015 at 7:08 pm

Dear Catherine,
I am rounding. But thanks for being more specific. And yes, it is true that many middle schoolers including my own have 3+ hours of homework per night. That's the point. The homework policy is dejure, not defacto.


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Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on May 22, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Catherine,

You missed my premise. For today's generation and the ones who came of age since, say the Clinton administration, we have obliterated nearly all of the 'right' pathways to success, save for those who can and do compete in the vast knowledge 'wars' that rage in virtually every corner of the globe.

I respect anyone who chooses to 'conscientiously object' to participating in the never ending grind. However, even you, based on your written thoughts, must surely acknowledge that for every ounce of 'greed' that exists in this world, there is a complimentary amount of 'fear' that also co-exists. Those two aspects dominated nearly every and any boardroom conversation that I ever had or could possibly every have. Those same two aspects are what drive nearly all parents, AND the school districts that they send their children to perpetually push, grind and, sadly, leave behind in some cases. You don't have to play. You just have to figure out another way which can be quite difficult - again, sadly.

In terms of your stance on "minorities - qualified or not", perhaps that's a life strategy that works for you and yours… The rest of the world seems to be following a different track on measuring accomplishments by ethnicity and who might just be winning the knowledge game is likely to be unsetting for you, I think (Web Link).


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Posted by Catherine
a resident of Danville
on May 22, 2015 at 2:08 pm

Conservator,

My response...

Web Link

And the rest if the rest of the world agrees with you, the whole world is going to be a pot of mediocrity. Just sad...


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Posted by Catherine
a resident of Danville
on May 22, 2015 at 2:10 pm

My bad - take out the first "the rest"...


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Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on May 22, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Catherine,

We agree on that aspect of rampant malfeasance and unscrupulous behavior by all stakeholders in the educational chain. Again, what drives these horrible behaviors is, in my simple opinion, a) fear (of failure to be remarkable in some manner) and b) greed (desire to provide oneself or others with things).

It's but my opinion that the concerns on school calendars, apparent increases in daily homework time, etc. are just the effects of the result of transitioning from a skills-based domestic workplace (think factories, mills, work in the same profession as your father, etc.) to a knowledge-based global 'marketplace' where everything is for sale, sadly including test scores as you highlighted in your response. We force / want our schools to place our students in the most competitive positions that they can or, at least, perceive they can because we, as a community or any community for that matter, want / need to state that our offspring have not and will not fall behind their domestic and global peers. All the rest is just comparative metrics.


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Posted by Catherine
a resident of Danville
on May 22, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Conservator,

As my father was a SVP for a large So. Cal. aerospace company with a BS/MS from the University of Michigan, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree!


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Posted by Just curious
a resident of San Ramon
on May 28, 2015 at 8:39 pm

So I grew up in a Christian house and decided several years ago not to follow that path. Most of my friends don't go to church and holidays mean family time, not church time.

Why in the world is our Winter Break centered around Christmas? Yes, a lot of people put up Christmas trees and stockings, but how many of us regularly go to church? How many of us go to church WILLINGLY?

Keep the start date, but change winter break. Most of us view Christmas as a time to watch our children/grandchildren scream and run around. We do not need 2 weeks off to be a part of that tradition.


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Posted by Mary
a resident of San Ramon
on May 29, 2015 at 6:04 am

Since you asked, Just Curious, my family attends church weekly and on Holy Days. We consider it the cornerstone of our family and lives. So yes, there are people in the area who attend church regularly in this area.


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Posted by District Teacher
a resident of Danville
on May 29, 2015 at 9:43 pm

First of all, Im amused by people like Carolyn and Catherine who call this district horrible and abhorrent but then go and tout it when they're trying to sell their multi million dollar houses.

Secondly, I can assure you that the teachers union is not behind this calendar change. No teacher I know at my site or in the district supports the calendar change. It's purely due to parent demand, much like the homework policy, which is also short sighted in my opinion. Many students in our district spend hours and hours a week practicing and playing on conpetative sports teams, but how dare we ask little Johnny to read for 30 minutes a night independently. I know the union is an easy target, but that's a big swing and a miss for those accusers with this one.


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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on May 30, 2015 at 10:41 am

"It's purely due to parent demand, much like the homework policy, which is also short sighted in my opinion"

Which proves Derek's theory of neurotic yuppie-ism # 27:
Most Danville parents are completely #[email protected]%ing nuts.

And assuming no one tinkered with the survey results (by the way, I am still waiting for an explanation why two separate surveys on the same subject were emailed out two weeks apart. Anyone?), I have no reason whatsoever to doubt what District Teacher writes.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of San Ramon
on May 30, 2015 at 11:48 am

If what District Teacher states is true about most being against this calendar change, then let's hope it is voted DOWN by their Union. If changes are still desired after that, then a meaningful dialog with suggested solutions is in order before sweeping changes are implemented.


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Posted by Catherine
a resident of Danville
on May 30, 2015 at 1:23 pm

@ District Teacher - I absolutely DO NOT tout this district to anyone moving here, and am the original owner of my home.

With regard to competitive sports - which I did not have my children do - you should look to the school/teachers/administration about that when 1/3 of the yearbook for Monte Vista (they just came out) is devoted to athletics, and groups like choir, drama, band, etc. get maybe a page in the yearbook. Why something like spirit squads that has no academic value is given 8 pages, and then a worth while organization like Science Alliance is not even included shows the terrible skew sanctioned by the school itself.

So District Teacher, give me a break!!!!!!


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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on May 31, 2015 at 11:16 am

Believe it or not Catherine, it is possible that both you and the teacher are correct. I agree completely with your comments about the yearbooks, but if you think home owners and realtors don't talk up our local school quality to high heaven when it comes time to sell, you must be living in Richmond. When the day comes for your family to move somewhere else, I can guarantee your listing agent will be boasting about the "school quality".
I have no problem with Charlotte Wood other than the fact that principal doughboy won't dump one or two really bad teachers, even now that the law is behind him.


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Jun 1, 2015 at 10:01 pm

I just wanted to include a current example of a few high school AP course's summer homework assignments from Monte Vista. Here are the summer assignments for AP European History:

Web Link

Note that in the first of two assignments the homework is due on August 1 and the second assignment is due on the first day of school. The first exam for this course is being given on Wednesday, August 26th, the second day of school and the reason it is probably not being given on the first day of school is because it is a minimum day.

Here is the AP Language and Composition summer homework from Monte Vista high:

Web Link

The first of 3 books is 603 paperback pages, the second is 332 paperback pages; the third book is attached and looks like it is not a lot of reading. The total number of pages for the first two books is 935 pages (to be read in the summer before school starts). All have accompanying first quarter assignments (presentation, discussion).

I am not sure if these links will work, as you may have to be registered on schoolloop to access them. I am just trying to give an idea of what the elementary school and middle school parents can plan for their summers for 10th, 11th, and 12th grades.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 2, 2015 at 6:29 am

Web Link

This publication has a new story about SRVUSD discussing homework--AGAIN.
While the AP summer course load that is listed above does seem excessive, AP classes are optional and are not necessarily a green light to the university of your choice.


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Jun 3, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Dave,

I disagree and think AP classes are a huge green light to the university of your choice. Ask any high school counselor, especially for the UC's and CA State colleges. It's not really optional anymore, like in my day (the 80's). It's expected. Unless you are planning to go to a community college first.

My child, who is a senior, said, "They're definitely something the college wants to see. If you're not taking AP classes and you want to get into a top college, they want to see that you have a rigorous academic schedule."

But, if you discovered a cure for the common cold while you were in middle or high school, you probably could opt out of a rigorous schedule and all the AP's! Also, the colleges want to see the student doing more each year in high school, as a friend was told by a talk given at LLNL by the head of all UC admissions. Therefore, if you take one Honors/AP class in 10th grade, you should take two Honors/AP classes in 11th grade, and 3 or more Honors/AP classes in 12th grade. They want to see you doing more each year, not doing less. So, I highly suggest to parents to not have their kids start out with a ton of weighted courses in 10th grade. Adding on is better each year, rather than taking away, especially if looking into applying to one of the UC's.

Well, this is way off the topic of calendar change, but I just thought I'd mention it.


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Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Jun 4, 2015 at 3:36 pm

I guess by the time our Charlotte Wood-ian is in high school, these lunatics at the college admissions offices will expect our offspring to stay awake 23 hours a day and live on no-doze.

Derek's crystal ball tells me there will come a time when we (or our descendants) will look back on this as a period when mankind completely took leave of their senses, ala' the Salem witch trials.

I've heard the cliche "but - but - but little Johnny has to be able to compete in this thing called a global market" so many times I want to f#$%ing puke. What I have never heard is a cogent explanation of precisely what this is supposed to mean for our kids. Oh, there's been plenty of nebulous generalities and blustery sound bites, but not one nitwit who espouses this has ever really put it down on paper. Anyone care to enlighten me with the specifics?

Beth is right that we are getting off topic, but it's still part and parcel of the current insanity that we face and the reason the calender change is being considered. And by "considered" I mean the school district is determined to ram it down our throats.

When idiots like David "Common Core-upt" Coleman run the college board, I suppose we should not be surprised.


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Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on Jun 5, 2015 at 9:48 am

Derek,

I think that the many voices on this broad have stated many opinions, a few facts, but all have a central theme of frustration and even anger as to what WE as a society have done to the education system in just the last 40 years or so. Please allow me a couple of sentences to provide a few thoughts as I think you'll find that we're arguing a very similar point.

In an earlier response to this thread, I provided an article written by Michael Barrett (past MA state legislator), as published in The Atlantic nearly 25 years ago (Web Link). It's long and somewhat scholarly in it's style of writing. However, it doesn't cover every reason for what we have today but it does forecast some globally significant 'facts' that have come to pass.

Depending upon your age, there was a time when your parents, or maybe even grandparents if your younger, would consider H.S. graduation as a coming of age moment to be celebrated and cherished by the entire clan. Why? Because you (rhetorical) attained something that they might not have or knew that many of their peers did not back in the day.

Today, we've created a system where the preparation for college entrance now starts in middle school by selective segregation amongst those with the apparent aptitude, discipline and in many cases, means, to excel above the average and thrive in highly competitive academic environments.

What is striking to me is that when we consider what trials WE, as a society, put our children through to excel in a 'sporting' contest, it is a common norm to accept that the children that will eventually compete for scholarship D1-D2 programs were the same ones who competed for 1st team varsity positions who, not by chance, were the same ones on the U10 gold teams or such. Yes, there are exceptions to this generality but short of a being freak-of-nature who walks out of a cornfield (Mickey Mantle) to be discovered, there are few to no Rudy-esque stories (Dan Ruettiger, ND '76) left to be written. Ever notice how many sports academies flourish in zip codes such as ours? It's surely not by chance.

At least in my opinion, there was a time when a young person could grow-up, have what most taking the time to write in this thread would have considered a 'typical' childhood, perhaps even play 3-sports in H.S. while making good enough grades (3.2 - 3.4, etc.) to enroll in a 4-year institution after graduation. That same kid might have even worked at a local burger joint and thrown the morning paper each day for extra gas money. This generality was not uncommon in the '70s and early '80s.

It seems to me that when we chastise the academic system that has arose in the last 25 years, we are accusing the symptom of causing the illness. The real cause of this problem is obvious to me. If you have a neighbor or a close friend who is a Fortune 100/500 c-suite executive, ask them if they can or would be willing to fill relatively low-level, salary exempt positions (i.e. not janitorial or lunchroom, etc.) with inspiring high school graduates - or even AA-degreed early 20-somethings. If they answer, why would they take that risk when they are turning away BA/BS degree holders for those with graduate degrees willing to address the same low-level task requirements then that should be sufficient evidence to pin causality on our nation's hiring practices. I used to argue this point in the boardroom all the time till I just got sick of making the argument that we didn't need to make the pursuit of perfection the enemy of good enough. This to me is the cause as to why parents are bemoaning homework workloads, insufficient holiday breaks and the unsavory college hustle.

If you made it this far in my response, now you can let me have it for all that I apparently got all wrong.


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Posted by Jake
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 12, 2015 at 7:19 am

The calendar change will adversely affect the seniors in college applications and how they are compared with other applicants.

At present, the colleges only get to see transcripts till the junior year as part of the applications. The senior year transcripts are visible much later and factor into the decisions only if they are substantially different from the previous grades. This change will negatively impact the seniors given that the first semester grade info will now be available to the colleges.

Pleasanton school district tried to change the schedules a couple years back and was resoundingly opposed by the parents.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School

on Apr 18, 2017 at 7:13 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?