"While these days will be designed at the discretion of the teacher, it's important to note that these days are contract days and that they are not personal days for staff to engage in non-related school activities," Baker said.
During planning and preparation days, Baker said teachers will develop instructional materials, host parent-teacher conferences, analyze student work and prepare future lessons during conference periods.
"We expect that teachers will feel less stressed and will have time to attend to effective instructional planning, self-directed professional learning and collaborate with their peers as they feel best," Baker said.
The following calendar adjustments have been approved for the 2020-21 school year.
- Jan. 4, 2021: transition from a professional learning day to a planning and preparation day; no decrease in instructional minutes
- Feb. 12, 2021: transition from an instructional day to a planning and preparation day; instructional minutes decrease by 435 minutes; student days decrease from 19 to 18
- March 12, 2021: transition from an instructional day to a planning and preparation day; instructional minutes decrease by 435 minutes; student days decrease from 18 to 17
- April 5, 2021: transition from an instruction day to a planning and preparation day; instructional minutes decrease by 435 minutes; student days decrease from 21 to 20
The changes result in a total decrease of 1,305 minutes for the spring semester but will create no change to either teacher contract days or calendar stop dates, Baker said. However, she said the school calendar would still meet the 75,600-operational-minute requirement "with 90 minutes to spare."
Board President Vernagene Mott said she understands teachers are stressed; however, she expressed concern for students with regard to the decrease in instructional minutes.
"I think with the planning time, we will see better lesson design," Baker said. "And the teachers are going to be able to better focus on the execution [of lessons], which—right now, they don't have the time to do it."