Understanding the Early Start Date
The 2015-16 school year calendar with an August 13 start date was approved at the October 27 Waukee Board of Education meeting. The calendar presented to the school board was recommended by the Waukee teacher’s association. A committee of teachers looked at academic needs of the district K-12 and then submitted a recommendation to the board that met as many educational needs across the district as possible. The recommendation was first presented to the Waukee Board of Education at the September 22 meeting.
For the past five years, Waukee Community School District has been starting school with the same corresponding start date. There are four key reasons for the early start date.
- The desire to finish the first semester prior to winter break.
- The desire to have balanced semesters.
- The desire to better align with DMACC’s Fall, Spring and Summer academic calendars.
- The desire to provide AP classes with enough instruction time to cover all course material before students take AP tests in mid-may.
The DMACC calendar piece is not just about fall semester. As a district, we need all of the semesters to align in order to offer the best opportunities for our students and staff. The spring 2016 DMACC calendar begins January 11 and the summer calendar begins May 24. Unlike colleges whose semesters are only 16 weeks, our K-12 semesters are 18 weeks. In order to have balanced semesters aligning with our local colleges, an August 13 start date is required.
The opportunity for high school students to earn college credits will continue to see an increased need as schools are asked to increase the rigor and opportunities for students. Last school year, Waukee High School students earned 6,810 credits in the concurrent enrollment program with DMACC. That was a 25% increase from the 2012-13 school year. There is no tuition cost for students who enroll in concurrent courses with DMACC. For the 2013-14 school year, the 6,810 credit hours earned represents a savings of $939,780 for our families.
The district conducted a comprehensive parent survey about three years ago regarding the school calendar and had more than 1,100 responses. The survey asked many questions, one being the desired start date. The results were literally split right down the middle with 45% preferring the early start date and 41% preferring a later start date and 14% indifferent.
The district will be conducting an online survey about the district in the coming months that will also include questions about the school calendar and start date.
Waukee Community School District will start school on Thursday, August 13, 2015 for the 2015-16 school year.
Approved WEA Calendar for 2015-16 School Year:
Based upon member survey data and discussion by building representatives of the WEA Calendar Committee, the Committee proposes the following recommendations for the 2015-2016 school year calendar:
To view the approved calendar click here.
|School Start||Thursday, August 13, 2015||A mid-week school start has been a favored option for a number of years. We recommend a start date of Thursday, August 13, 2015. This start date allows secondary levels to end the first semester prior to Winter Break, benefits optimal student performance on final exams, and better aligns high school classes offered for DMACC credit. This start date also allows teachers to begin their Work Days at the beginning of that week, rather than the week before.|
|Winter Break||Wed Dec 23, 2015 through Mon Jan 4, 2016
Classes resume Tues Jan 5, 2016
|Students would be on break from Dec 23, 2015 through Jan 4, 2016.Classes would resume, and the second semester would start, on Tues Jan 5, 2016.|
|Spring Break||March 14-18, 2016||Area superintendents have set March 14-18, 2016 as Spring Break Week.|
|Fall Conferences||Elem Conferences: To be determined||During their conference weeks in November and in March, elementary teachers will schedule individual conferences to fit parent schedules, but will have one common evening time and common time on an early dismissal day.|
|Oct 12 & 15 WMS/SMS||Waukee Middle School, South Middle School will schedule conferences on two evenings
for the Fall and Spring semesters.
|Oct 13 & 15 Prairieview and Timberline||Prairieview and Timberline will schedule conferences on two evenings for the Fall and Spring semesters.|
|WHS conferences are scheduled one evening per quarter||Waukee High School will continue to schedule one conference evening per quarter.|
|Feb 15&18 WMS/SMS
Feb 16 and 18 Prairieview and Timberline
Elem Conferences: To be determined
|A format similar to that in the fall would occur with
|Teacher Work Days||Work Days for all staff:
||The Committee has gathered data from teachers and administrators at every building and has attempted to customize Work Days to best meet the needs of teachers at varied grade levels and buildings, so that they can best facilitate student learning, prepare for instruction or for conferences, or to complete assessment evaluations.
The Committee proposes five fixed Work Days and two flex Work Days. The Committee recommends these fixed Work Days: three Work Days prior to the start of school, on Friday, October 16, 2015 and the day following the last day of school.The first recommended Flex Work Day combination is Monday, Jan 4, 2016 and Friday, Feb 19, 2016. The second recommended Flex Work Day combination is Friday Mar 11, 2016 and Friday, Apr 29, 2016. No students would attend school on those Flex Work
|Flex Work Days WHS:
|Flex Work Days Waukee Middle & South Middle:
|Flex Work Days Prairieview and Timberline:
|Flex Work Days All Elementary Schools:
|Teacher Quality Professional Day||Tues, Sept 8, 2015||The Committee recommends placement of the Professional Development Day funded with Teacher Quality money on Tues, Sept 8, 2015. This date was selected with input from the Teacher Quality Fund Committee and from teachers.|