The Davis school district’s academic calendar will remain pretty much as is for the 2014-15 school year, following discussion of possible changes at Thursday’s Board of Education meeting.
Two-term school board member Sheila Allen also announced Thursday she will not seek a third term. She passed the gavel to trustee Gina Daleiden, who will serve as school board president for 2014.
On the topic of the academic year, Superintendent Winfred Roberson recommended keeping the 2014-15 calendar consistent with the current calendar, with the first day of classes in late August. But he said there are benefits to having the fall semester end as winter break begins, with high school students taking their final exams before vacation.
This could lead to fall and spring semesters with an unequal number of days — something that already occurs in a number of school districts, according to Assistant Superintendent Matt Best.
Scott Richardson, a science teacher at Davis High, noted that students perform better on the same test when it is administered in December as compared to January, following a two-week holiday break. He also noted that some universities, such as Stanford, ask for transcripts in early January, and Davis students have been at a disadvantage with the fall semester ending in the middle of that month.
Further work on calendar options will continue. The school board and the Davis Teachers Association will need to sign off on any proposed calendar before it becomes official.
Allen, whose husband and children were in the audience, said she’s making her announcement now to give parents and community members time to consider running for the school board in November 2014.
“I highly encourage parents of young children to consider running,” she said. “I found it invaluable to be ‘in the thick of it’ (as a parent) while I was charged with making policy and budget decisions for our students and staff.”
Allen noted that the past few years “have been particularly challenging from a fiscal perspective. … The most difficult cut for me was the increase in class sizes for our early grades.”
She thanked Davis voters for approving several parcel tax measures, and now that the state budget crisis is receding, she forecast better days ahead, saying, “I am pleased that we are now able to bring down these (class size) numbers so that our newest students can receive the individualized attention they deserve. … It appears that the district has weathered the Great Recession being able to maintain almost all of our programs.”
She said a highlight of her tenure on the board was bringing the Head Start program, serving pre-kindergarten students, back to Davis. She also idea was proud of the expansion of Da Vinci Charter Academy into a junior high program, “(providing) a desired alternative educational choice and (encouraging) students to enroll at Emerson, which increased Emerson elective options. This helped even out the junior high enrollments so that our west side school was not closed.”
Also on Thursday, the school board held its annual reorganization. In addition to electing Daleiden as board president, Tim Taylor was elected vice president and Susan Lovenburg was chosen as legislative liaison and representative to the Yolo County School Boards Association.
Daleiden also announced committee assignments: Taylor and Daleiden for the board/Davis Teachers Association two-by-two; Allen and Lovenburg for the board/California School Employees Association two-by-two; Allen and Nancy Peterson for the Facilities/Real Estate Subcommittee; Daleiden and Peterson for the Budget and Fiscal Subcommittee; Allen and Peterson for the Board Policy Review Subcommittee; Lovenburg and Allen for the Green School/STEM Subcommittee; Allen and Daleiden for the Superintendent’s Evaluation Committee; Taylor as ad hoc Legal Subcommittee; and Lovenburg and Daleiden for the Shared Services Subcommittee.
No appointments were made to the Parcel Tax Subcommittee, which will be inactive this year since no parcel tax campaign is being contemplated for 2014.
Daleiden also announced the following liaisons: Taylor and Daleiden for Davis Teachers Association; Lovenburg and Allen for California School Employees Association; Peterson and Taylor for UC Davis partnership; Lovenburg for Technology Committee; Peterson for Targeted Assistance Group; Allen for Davis School Arts Foundation; Taylor for Davis Schools Foundation; Daleiden for the Blue & White Foundation; Daleiden for the Farm to School Connection; and Lovenburg and Peterson for Fiscal Accountability.
— Reach Jeff Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8055. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffHudsonDE