East Sac mulls hybrid calendar

SAC CITY – A four-day school week is no longer being proposed for the East Sac County school district.

Instead, a combination calendar which would include some five-day weeks and some four-day weeks will be proposed to the school board, said Superintendent Kevin Fiene.

“The feeling of the calendar committee is, we really think a four-day week has lots of potential, but there’s some very legitimate questions that need to be answered,” Fiene said.

He said the combination calendar would accomplish some of the things a four-day calendar is designed to do.

The district has held two public meetings on the subject, and heard concerns from parents, students and teachers.

The calendar committee consists of eight teachers from the district who have been researching whether a four-day week would be beneficial, and how to structure it.

The committee previously reported having four days a week instead of five could help both students and staff make better use of their time. With a four-day week, teachers’ professional development could be done on the fifth, non-class day, instead of requiring periodic shortened days that disrupt the classroom schedule.

The proposed calendar will be based on five-day weeks, but will have some four-day weeks to make time for professional development, Fiene said. Instead of having late start or early dismissal, students will go to school four days during a week with professional development.

There are multiple proposals being considered. One would add 15 minutes to the school day, while another would add 30 minutes.

“We’ve got multiple drafts, and we keep playing with it, trying to make it better,” he said.

The Iowa Department of Education recently extended deadlines for school districts to finalize their calendars.

“Up until Monday of this week there was a deadline from the (department) that that had to be done by March 1,” Fiene said. “We got notification on Monday that the Department of Ed has backed off, and that’s going to be part of Spring BEDS (Basic Educational Data Survey) Reporting, which is in either May or June.”

Fiene said the calendar will be proposed at the March school board meeting.