Why are we conducting another calendar survey?

Last year there was a tremendous amount of debate about whether the district should continue having a consecutive two week Fall Break. Dr. Wright and the Board of Education made a commitment to have an independent third party company create and administer a survey which would reflect the views of parents and teachers. This is the fulfillment of that promise that was made.

How long will the Calendar Survey run?

September 5th – 22nd

Who is participating in the Calendar Survey?

The survey will go out to parents/guardians and staff members.  While we value the opinion of our students, they are not being allowed to vote.  We believe parents will talk to their children, and make a decision as a family, before voting. If a parent votes differently from what their student prefers, we assume they are doing so intentionally because they know what is in the best interest of their family.

Why are we only being given 3 options to consider?

The state has very specific requirements when it comes to school calendars.  The 3 options that are under consideration are the ones that most directly align with what parents and staff has expressed interest in over the years.

Why are there so many questions included in the survey?  I thought we were just being asked to vote on which calendar we wanted.

While the goal of this survey is to determine which calendar option is the most popular, we’re also interested in determining specifically how certain options might impact our parents and staff, particularly as it relates to work, childcare, family vacations, and extracurricular activities.

How was the survey created?

District leaders provided information to K12 Insight about the state rules and regulations that dictate school calendars in Tennessee.  We also provided them with the options that parents have shown the most interest in.  Based on that information, K12 Insight built the survey that you are participating in.

K12 Insight, which is based in Herndon, Virginia, works with more than 30,000 school administrators to strengthen the relationships that power education.  K12 Insight will administer the survey, compile the confidential responses, and provide the survey results to our Board of Education.

What information was used to develop the survey questions?

The survey is based on school board goals, our current school calendar, and state requirements for school districts.  For example, the state requires that all school district calendars include:

– At least 180 days of classroom instruction

– Five days of mandatory in-service credit for teachers to be used for professional development

– One day for parent-teacher conferences, which can be split into half days or scheduled during after school hours

– Four administrative days, designated by the local board of education on the   recommendation of the Director of Schools

What happens if I do not receive the email with the survey link?

If you do not receive this email by the end of the business day on September 5th, please click on the following link, and submit that information to us.  Someone on our staff will review your concern, and reach out to you by phone or email.

Did Not Receive Calendar Survey Email

How can we be sure people are not voting multiple times?

The company administering the survey has assured us that each survey link has a unique signature that only allows for the survey to be taken once.  After that vote has been cast, you will not be able to take it again.  It is important to note that the survey should not be forwarded to anyone else.  If another person takes the survey, you will essentially be forfeiting your vote.

Will the survey results track and report parents responses vs. teacher responses?

Yes, but it will do so in an aggregated way.  In other words, no names or line item votes will be shared with the district.

Will the Board go with the most popular option chosen?

The Wilson County School Board is comprised of seven board members.  It would be impossible for us to predict how any one board member will vote.  That said, our board members have expressed a sincere interest in gathering this information, which will allow them to make a more informed decision on future school calendars.

Why is the School District including an option that includes moving the start of the school year to after Labor Day?

Over the years parents have repeatedly expressed their interest in a calendar that would begin after Labor Day.  Since we are soliciting feedback from parents about the school calendar, it would be negligent not to provide information of what an actual calendar might look like.

How would fall sports be impacted by the Post-Labor Day option?

Students who participate in fall sports would have to report for games and practices before school is in session, much like many of them do now, whether it is before school starts or during the 2-week fall break. The TSSAA also allows each school to have a “bye” week during the season, so if schools scheduled their bye week early in the season it would eliminate a game prior to Labor Day.

How would starting after Labor Day impact high school scheduling?

If the Board of Education decides to go with a post Labor Day start, our high schools would discuss which schedule would best accommodate the change. There are multiple options that could be considered besides the 4×4 block and the 7-day period day. With the post-Labor Day Option, the first semester would not end until after Christmas Break on a 4×4 schedule, meaning final exams would not be taken until January.

How would starting after Labor Day allow teachers to have enough instructional days prior to state standardized testing?

While it’s true that this option would reduce the number of instructional days, prior to state testing, it’s not as drastic as you might think.  The post Labor Day option eliminates Fall Break altogether, meaning 2-weeks would automatically be gained.  The State Department of Education sets testing windows and do not necessarily account for individual school calendars.

How would starting after Labor Day impact students that take Dual
Enrollment classes?

This would vary depending on the post-secondary institution that is affiliated with a particular class. However, most of our cooperating colleges and universities actually start in late August, so a school calendar starting around Labor Day would more closely mirror many college schedules.

I have heard the school calendar was only being changed due to the fact the school district has concerns regarding feeding students who might receive free or reduced meals. How would that situation be addressed by the post-Labor Day option?

When the calendar debate occurred last year, there were many reasons that the calendar committee supported a shorter spring break. At no time was “food insecurity” the sole, or primary reason, for the calendar change.  As you answer the survey questions we would encourage parents to consider all of the issues and vote for the calendar that would best suit the needs of their individual family.