The Concord and Concord-Carlisle School Committees are preparing to vote on the 2014-2015 School Calendar. As the Committees review their calendar options, they are required to work within specific parameters set by state regulations and language contained in contracts with the Districts’ collective bargaining units. In addition to the regulatory and contractual restrictions, members of the Committees are hearing concerns from students and families about the school calendar extending so late in June. The calendar can be an issue for many families as they consider educational programs, family plans, and summer camps that begin in June.
A Calendar Committee comprised of teachers, union representatives, administrators, and a School Committee member has considered many options but there is no clear consensus. Options considered have included calendar adjustments addressing religious holidays, professional days, parent-teacher conference days, winter/holiday vacation, and February vacation.
The state requires that School Committees approve a calendar that includes at least 185 school days for elementary, middle, and secondary schools in the district. State regulations also require that every elementary (K-8) student is scheduled to receive a minimum of 900 hours per school year of structured learning time and every secondary (9-12) student is scheduled to receive a minimum of 990 hours per school year of structured learning time. All student and teacher days must be completed by June 30.
Language in the Concord Teachers Association (CTA) (K-8) and Concord-Carlisle Teachers Association (CCTA) (9-12) teachers’ contracts stipulates that the Districts cannot require teachers to begin work until September 1 without consent of the unions. The CTA and CCTA currently have not agreed to begin prior to September 1.
Given these restrictions, the Concord and Concord-Carlisle School Committees are considering a number of limited options to address these concerns, including the elimination of the February vacation. The Committees will vote to approve the 2014-2015 School Calendar at a Joint Meeting on March 10 at 6:30pm at Ripley.
Parents are encouraged to contact the School Committees with questions, concerns, and comments via the school committees’ website at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com or the Your Voice link on the District’s home page at www.concordpublicschools.net.