Whitnall Calendar Saga Comes to Conclusion
The School Board unanimously passed an amendment put forth by Board member TJ Anderson that incorporates early release and late start times for the three school levels.
While slowly putting both fists up in the air and quietly saying, “Yes,” Whitnall School Board member TJ Anderson let out what could have been considered a collective sigh of relief.
Two weeks after learning the results of a district-wide survey that polled parents on their preferences, Anderson’s amendment put an end of 4 ½ months of back and forth deliberation and hours of conversations. The amendment passed unanimously on Monday night.
The amendment aligned all the collaborative times on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, with the following impact on each grade level.
- Elementary: early release Wednesdays with school hours of 8:35 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. on those days.
- Middle School: early release Wednesdays with school hours of 8 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on those days.
- High School: late start Wednesdays with school hours of 8:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. on those days.
“Yes, we know what the survey results are, but the key to this is the principals and administrators,” Anderson said. “Each principal laid out what they wanted … what fits into what they’re looking for needs to be taken into consideration.
“The thread I got out of the survey was consistency. Parents want a consistent pattern to make it easier to forecast their life moving forward. … The responsibility falls on us to take all the information and piece it all together to best drive education for the kids.”
Before considering Anderson’s amendment, Board newcomer Eileen Valaitis proposed an amendment of her own, a collaborative release at all levels on the second and fourth Fridays of each month with the school hours remaining the same as those proposed by former Board member Mike Clarizio in an amendment in March.
The motion failed, 5-2, as board members raised concerns about high school students having more time on their hands on Fridays and the quality – or potential lack there of – of Friday afternoon collaborative sessions.
“There’s not going to be one plan that’s going to fit,” Valaitis said. “There’s not going to be one plan that addresses everybody’s needs.”