Make Up Days – Public Input

I’ve had many conversations online (Make-Up Schedule, Make-Up Days, Facebook Post 1, Facebook Post 2). A couple of things have been overwhelmingly communicated to me.

  • People are skeptical about the extra academic learning achieved by adding 20 minutes to every day or 3 minutes to each class.
  • Many teachers, subs and parents have already made plans for the Fall/October break (this weekend Oct 5 – 9)

Many school board members communicated with the Superintendent their discomfort with the extended day. So, what’s the plan? The following decision is definite to make up two of the four days lost of instructional time.

  • 20 minutes each day during the month of October from October 2-30 (equivalent to one instructional day)
  • Tuesday, November 7 (Election Day)

The DeKalb Schools administration is now soliciting input from principals, teachers and school councils on the option to make up an additional 1 or 2 days beyond the above. If we make up 1 day, we can select one option under “A”. If we make up two days, we’ll need to select two options under “B”. Please contact your local school council to let them know your thoughts. You can also share your thoughts here.

Option A: Makeup 1 Additional Day: (choose one)

  1. Monday, November 20
  2. Thursday, December 21
  3. 20 minutes each day during the month of November (equivalent to one instructional day)

Option B: Makeup 2 Additional Days: (choose 2 options to equate to 2 days)

  1. Monday, November 20
  2. Thursday, December 21
  3. Friday, December 22
  4. 20 minutes each day during the month of November (equivalent to one instructional day)
  5. 20 minutes each day during the month of December (equivalent to one instructional day)

Option J: The Jester Plan: (no additional instructional days)

  • Just let the other days go

The administration expects to collect all feedback by Friday, October 13.


Related Posts

Plan B – Make-Up Schedule
September 28, 2017 – DeKalb County School District to adjust make-up days schedule following additional collaboration and outreach
.

Make-Up Schedule
September 22, 2017 – DeKalb County School District to extend school days by 20 minutes from October 2 to December 20.

Make-Up Days
September 15, 2017 – DeKalb Schools was closed for 4 days. What is the plan to make that time up? Here is the law and our options as I see it.

51 responses to “Make Up Days – Public Input

  1. While I appreciate the effort to allow stakeholders to provide input I would defer to the teachers. The questions to be asking are:
    What impact did those 4 days have to your lesson plans?
    What is the best way for you to mitigate that impact (if any)?

  2. Julie Cooper

    My opinion is to just make the two days total, and not add any extra days. FEMA excuses two days. I definitely don’t want to take away any of the December days taken since we already get out so close to Christmas anyway. If another day has to be added, then Monday November 20 would be best, but again, I feel making up two days is enough.

  3. Robyn Sjogren

    This is frustrating, because after the initial schedule was announced, I secured (and paid for) childcare for my three kids for Monday, November 20th. Now I’m trying to find out if I will be able to get my money back. I voted for December, but honestly, can’t we just forgive those two days and move on?

  4. Hidden Option J – The Jester Plan – forgive the other two days and just move on.

  5. Catherine Barfield

    I don’t think any further days should be made up. The 20 extra minutes are ridiculous and disruptive of schedules in many ways. My child had to drop an after-school activity as a result. If they insist on making up one day, I would pick Nov. 20. If they insist on a second day, Dec. 21. That said, it is MUCH more important that teachers, students and families have their scheduled breaks and family time. Think about the well-being of the entire community, not just how to cram a few more minutes of “learning” into the kids’ heads – that does not work anyway! Shouldn’t that be abundantly clear by now? This whole thing is such a massive waste of everyone’s time – a greater waste than the days lost to the storm itself. Just let it go!

  6. Just wondering

    To be honest, there are days that are wasted instructionally even when school is in session (PSAT anyone?), but no one bothers about that. It’s only when these rascally teachers don’t work that all of a sudden there is this great push to “make up days.”

    I think most people would choose hidden option C (forget the other two days), but then the teachers will probably have to work two extra days at the end of the school year to be sure we aren’t getting something for nothing.

  7. I am going to say this after a parent-teacher conference last week. The following were the exact words from the teacher when I asked how my son was doing in class and what she sees as deficiencies in his learning, granted he has a D in the class right now.

    ” I have not been able to get to know the students in the class because there are 39 students in the class. Also, we had Pre-Test assessments, Labor Day, MAP testing, Irma, MAP Testing and I just finished with Post-Test Assessment.” So basically what I am hearing is …. this is the tenth week of school, and I have not been able to teach your child.

    Here is a novel idea… Get rid of the ridiculous amount of testing that these students and teachers go through, lower class sizes and LET THE TEACHERS TEACH.

    If the county would get rid of all this useless testing, from what I can tell, the schoolhouse just made up 4+ plus day in the classroom.

    Buford Hwy was a mess yesterday afternoon with all the buses stopping during rush hour. Many cars do not know that you can not pass on either side of Buford Hwy. Staying the 20 extra minutes a day, was a horrible idea, that is now putting our students at risk getting off their bus in the afternoon.

    I say, November 8, December 8, and AND GET RID OF TESTING THAT ONLY JUSTIFIES A HUGE SALARY PERSON IN CENTRAL OFFICE, and call it done. Days made up PERIOD!

  8. Oops. December 21. so sorry.

  9. Plan J is my vote

  10. I’m fine with any plan EXCEPT one that includes extending the day by 20 minutes. This makes no sense and screws a lot of folks daily lives.

  11. Plan J please

  12. PeaceOverandOut

    First day of “extended day,” my middle schooler arrives home at 6:05 PM. Yes, there was a traffic issue. Imagine…the more people we smush together on the roads at the same time, the more problems we have. I’ll be killing the ozone layer today when I drive to school–like many other parents are doing–to pick her up.

    Monday, November 20th isn’t a very viable option. This one day really removes three days from the Thanksgiving holiday. If it is selected, we should anticipate huge numbers of absences.

    What problem could we have solved if all the resources being used to make up these days would have been redirected?

  13. James McKenzie

    I am with Hidden Option J. I have made out of town trips and dentist appointments for 11/20 and 12/21.

  14. Kate Eastburn

    If the issue is making up lost instructional time…. then the 20 min fiasco is ridiculous and adding more of those days makes zero sense….. Tack on Nov 20 and Dec 21. Why can we not extend the school year until after Memorial Day? I’ve talked to folks in other counties and states, and this has been done successfully. Those days are targeted in some systems as make up days…. and are available to be used. However none of the solutions work in my opinion. The person who commented on the testing and the days lost to so much of it. This! This is a problem. Recess is too short as is lunch. What happened to outside time and running around and being dirty, sweaty kids? Children learn and develop through play and being active. Kids’ attention wanes after 20 min. Look at the Scandinavian systems. They seem to work quite well. Why are we putting so much pressure on these kids at such a young age? I personally think the whole system needs a revamp starting with when schools begin and when they end…. As a foreigner looking at the system with different eyes, not much of the public system seems to put kids’ health and wellbeing first. It is tailored to maximize testing which keeps increasing, they have far too little time to eat and play. It’s odd to me but we have superior Universities… the best in the World and a terrible public system in some States -compared to other First World Countries. Such inconsistency and a disconnect. I know I have gone off topic but I feel the if we are going to talk solutions and talk about how to not repeat this happening next year than lets talk REAL solutions that in the long term would make so much more sense. Sick and tired of bandaid approaches. Kids deserve better.

  15. Just let those days go. If you really want to make sure the students still get an education, give them one assignment to complete over the break i.e. Do a report on hurricanes, right how they would propose a plan to help those in need in Puerto Rico. Let’s use this as a way to be creative and make learning fun.

  16. Robin Mitchell

    Put me down for J. The issue was never “lost instructional time”. It was “lost test cramming” time. I know this because my daughter enrolled in her school after 6 weeks. Her teachers aren’t nearly as concerned about catching her up on missed curriculum as I would have expected. Even supplying her with information so she can do a cursory review from home seems to be outside of their ability. The system is stacked against the teachers AND the students (to Kate’s point above). I don’t see how making up the other days (when they aren’t required) will improve anyone’s performance.

  17. Option J. The school system will not be able to secure enough subs to come in for all of the teachers who will inevitably already have travel plans. Thanksgiving and Christmas are actual holidays that people plan far in advance for. And enough students will be absent that teachers will need to spend additional class time catching those students up. Just be happy with making up 2 of the 4 days.

  18. If “instructional time” was truly that important to the superintendent, the students would have WAY less standardized testing, which takes away an inordinate amount of instructional time. I support plan J.

  19. The 1st day of the second semester is on the calendar as Thursday, January 4th – move the start of second semester to Monday, January 8th – You have now picked up Jan 4th & 5th as the make up days for the first semester. For the second semester just extend the school year 2 days to make up for the days.

  20. Mr. Jester,

    Families make plans. Most educators try to schedule things on the days that school will be closed. This is not only travel but also appointments with doctors. Family members not working for the school system request time off to be with their children and spouse. Do they now go back to their jobs and change again?
    Traveling as a family is expensive. In order to be able to do that, people make reservations well in advance. This is October. No one knew that the school system would decide on a second make up schedule that would now require days that would occur right before the holidays. Am I the only person who sees this as unfair to staff and students? I do not think that people will now go back and change plans again.
    1. First we had the days off.
    2. We were told that school would be 20 minutes longer until December.
    3. Now we are told that we may have option A or B.
    Dr. Jester,
    The input of staff and parents should have been solicited before any plans were announced. Thank you for your plan. That is the one we should follow.

  21. Simply Aggravated

    The whole reason that school calendars are published 2 years in advance is so people can plan their lives around them. Many people have their travel plans set for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. DO I know whether or not people will be leaving the Thursday of Winter Break, no, but I know many people that plan to be with family the week of Thanksgiving.

    I think the two days are enough. If we have more inclement weather this winter than we can talk about second semester.

  22. Plan J. Let the days go. Families travel over the holidays, so trying to recover lost instructional time by shortening Thanksgiving and/or Winter break(s) is a wasted effort. If they are truly intent on having more instructional time, the solution is to delay the start of spring testing. In my child’s experience, once the year-end testing is completed, so is most instruction.

  23. Courtney Lamb

    Plan J is the only option that makes good sense for all involved.

  24. I recall doing this 20 minute makeup thing years ago. It ended up being a confusing waste of time.

  25. I’m glad to see Option J is popular and I’m not off my rocker. I’ve enjoyed reading the comments. I thought Dwdy Mama made a particularly interesting observation. To paraphrase, it is inconsistent for the school administration to want to eek out as much instruction time as possible … yet they have tripled the number of standardized tests taken by the students.

    Be sure to reach out to your school council with your thoughts. Hopefully over the next 9 days, the school councils will weigh in.

  26. Wendy Hornick-Dell

    I don’t think there is a single person or teacher out there who is in favor of adding 20 minutes a day on any set of dates. That just checks a box for the county and does nothing for learning time. Why don’t we consider going back to school after Winter Break on January 2 or 3? Most people I know go back to work on January 2 and just have to find babysitting options for their kids on those days.

  27. Nancy Jester

    At one of the three schools my children attend, the administration has decided to extend 5th period by 20 minutes. This class happens to be my child’s elective middle school Spanish class. His entire additional instructional time is in Spanish. He is not receiving make-up time in any additional class: no math, no ELA, no science, no social studies. He is in gifted accelerated math. No consideration was given to the time that he lost to this particularly rigorous class. If you just accidentally happen to have gifted, accelerated math in 5th period of my child’s middle school – you got a much better allocation of time for your student. Your child is getting more time in this class than all others. I’m using this example because it is happening to my child right now. What if your child would benefit from an extra dose of ELA but they didn’t “win” the 5th period allocation? We have now jumped from a ridiculous decision to one that picks winners and losers on top of being ridiculous.

  28. Michelle Fincher

    Stan – When will the 2018-2019 calendar be available? I do not see it on the Dekalb Schools website.
    Also, I support Plan J.

  29. The board hasn’t approved a new calendar in a while. The next couple years of calendars will probably be approved around January or February.

  30. Hello,
    I think Nancy’ s example is great. I do not believe that there was a lot of thought in making the decision about adding an extra 20 minutes. I think that someone thought that this was a good PR move, not realizing that people would be vocal and express their concerns.
    Stan, I so appreciate you being willing to speak out and add some logic and reason to the conversation. You and Nancy remind me of the song. “Brave.”
    Back in the summer a teacher had made reservations for a trip during this time. She is an excellent teacher. When she returns starts treatment for cancer. She comes to school every day and does an excellent job. She had figured out it would be cheaper to be docked for not showing up than to lose the money she would lose for missing this trip.
    I am only sharing this because I think that when the administration makes these kind of moves they forget that there are people impacted by it. Even teachers have a life outside of school and deserve the right to make plans.


  31. This is a valuable lesson for Dr. Greene and his staff. Many parents begin planning childcare, camps, vacations, medical appointments, surgeries, court-ordered visitation, educational and service opportunities, etc… as soon as the school board votes and passes school calendars. If DCSD plans to makeup days missed due to inclement weather, then they must plan for and communicate those days to the citizens of DeKalb when calendars are developed. Weather events and other emergencies will occur, and they are beyond the control of Dr. Greene. Planning in advance will allow parents and staff to make informed decisions.

    At this point, DCSD should leave the fall semester days as-is, utilizing Election Day as an instructional day and keeping the 20-minute extended day for the next 3 weeks. They appear incompetent when they announce a plan and quickly change it.

    DCSD should immediately develop a plan for the Spring semester, should we lose any more instructional days, and communicate that plan to parents and staff so they may plan accordingly.

    Finally, DCSD need to talk to their bus drivers about how extending the day impacts the safety and efficiency of transporting our most precious resources, our children.

  32. Heyward Wescott

    I asked the kids in my carpool what they thought of the 20 minutes added to each day. I was shocked to hear the response. They loved it. DeKalb School for the Art has added the 20 minutes to the end of each day and made it a study period.
    * less time doing homework at home
    * no days taken away from Spring break
    * no days added to the end of the year.
    They also informed me that DHS added 5 mins to each class and think they got the better deal. Interesting.

  33. Adam Murphy, CBS46

    Hi everyone, I’m a reporter at CBS46 and working on a story about this today. Is anyone willing to weigh in on camera with a brief comment? Email me – adam.murphy@cbs46.com

  34. Rebecca Burnett

    Thanks for working on this. It’s a hot mess. Causing considerable trouble for little gain. There’s a list of support staff including substitute teachers that do not have to work the extra 20 minutes. This means disruption of services instead of instructional gain. Traffic on my street is already backed up at 4. Now it’s even worse as the middle schools are getting out later and added to the mix. The central office made an arbitrary decision with out considering impact. Schools are making their own decisions as to make up. I heard Lakeside is just adding time to lunch.

  35. Past 2 days. My 8th grader. 7:45 on bus. 5:20 off bus. Not happy.

  36. Plan J all the way! DeKalb has made one knee-jerk, hasty decision after another with regard to weather since the snowmaggedon fiasco a few years ago. We have the silly +20 min this month & Election Day make up – and let’s just leave it at that and move on.

  37. Millicent Green

    I think 20 minutes should be added to all of the school days throughout the months of November and December to make up some of the school days.
    Millicent Green
    millicentgreen34@gmail.com

  38. The only thing that truly makes up for a missed day of school is another day. Either add them or not, but quit messing around. Disappointed at the way this has been handled, and now support Plan J. The total randomness with which the extra 20 minutes is being applied totally detracts from whatever minimal value it might have had.

  39. We still have a huge problem – our 9-week courses have lost nearly 10% of the instructional time due to the hurricane and all plans affect semester-long courses. That being said, there is a simple solution that could rectify this, but it would have to be implemented very quickly. The 9-week grading period ends this Wednesday. Why can we not move that to Friday? That would allow two more days to wrap up the 9-week classes with minimal disruption to other courses and spreading out the 4-day loss to both terms in the semester. We should also look at moving Georgia Milestones for 1st semester block courses back from starting December 4 to starting December 11. That way we are truly using our educational time most wisely.

  40. dsw2contributor

    Sorry to change the subject, but I have to ask if the board realizes that Dr. Beasley is skimming the cream of our crop?

    Since he was named Clayton County Schools Superintendent on May 8 (http://www.news-daily.com/news/morcease-beasley-named-clayton-county-schools-superintendent/article_bcf681d2-2be2-515d-87e0-ef99956264e5.html) Dr. Beasley has hired five excellent leaders away from Dekalb. That’s one per month!

    Jamie Wilson is the latest, having been appointed Clayton’s Chief Human Resources Officer on October 2:
    http://www.clayton.k12.ga.us/news/district_news/board_appointments_-_october_2__2017/

    The Clayton board also hired Twana Culberson Bowman on September 5:
    http://www.clayton.k12.ga.us/cms/One.aspx?portalId=54515&pageId=9842340

    and Denise Hall on August 28:
    http://www.clayton.k12.ga.us/cms/One.aspx?portalId=54515&pageId=9775076

    and Sandra Nunez on July 31:
    http://www.clayton.k12.ga.us/cms/One.aspx?portalId=54515&pageId=9443304

    and Ralph Simpson on July 20:
    http://www.clayton.k12.ga.us/cms/One.aspx?portalId=54515&pageId=9384014

    There is also speculation that the Druid Hills Principal is leaving to go to Clayton. I don’t know if that is correct, but she is definitely out since the her current position is already posted on PATS (along with the Livsey Elementary Principal position, the job that Jamie Wilson is leaving.)

  41. dsw2contributor, Any idea why they are choosing to leave Dekalb for Clayton?

  42. DW2
    I love and appreciate you. You have been a strong advocate for a long time. But, just like in a marriage, another person can’t steal your spouse.’ Your spouse has to want to go. These people are leaving by choice. I worked for Dr. Beasley once. He is an intelligent, kind man who treats his people with dignity and respect.
    We don’t need to spend our time hating on him. We need to look at why our people are willing to leave. And let’s be honest. Remember last year the Fernbank Principal left. This year the Chamblee Principal left. The Special Ed Coordinator for High School left. The former Region I Superintendent left. These people did not go to Clayton.
    People have got to feel that there is hope. That there is an opportunity for them to advance. It has been discussed in BOE sessions the pay that certain new people in DeKalb are making compared to o.thers Think about how long it takes DeKalb to hire for certain jobs. For example, many of the Principals and AP’s were not appointed to the end of the summer. How many years did it take us to get a Region I Superintendent? How long did it take to get a police chief? We still don’t have a HCM head. No social security, no steps, lots of inexperienced principals our TSA taken and never returned. I am sure that people can add to this list.
    I think that we have lost hope in DeKalb. Communication is not good. One recent example was the issue with the school day being extended. Teachers and staff had no input on the first decision. We still aren’t sure on what the next option of going to be.
    DSW2 and Stan, I am sorry. I may have said too much. I deeply appreciate both of you.
    The question is: “What is DeKalb doing to keep its people.?”

  43. In addition to the fact that Clayton County Schools are hiring several key DCSD folks, dsw2contributor makes another excellent point. Clayton County Schools Communications staff and/or the Clayton BOE informs its stakeholders of important new appointments.

    If you click on any of the links that dsw2contributor posted, they all lead to a section titled “Board Appointments.”

    Stan, maybe you could make a motion for the DeKalb BOE to formally request that its Board Appointments are posted on the DCSD website. Maybe the DCSD Communications staff is just waiting for the BOE to ask that these decisions are posted.

  44. This was posted in the PATCH:

    A letter from the DHHS PTSA: Dear DHHS Families, Please see the below note from Ms. Cunningham.
    We wish her all the best in her new endeavors and thank her for four-plus great years leading Druid Hills High School! Please be on the lookout for additional information from the District, the DHHS Advisory Council, and DHHS PTSA about selection of our next Principal. “It is with mixed feelings that I announce my resignation as Principal of Druid Hills High School, effective October 31, 2017. I am leaving DeKalb County School District to serve as the Director of Testing and Assessment at Atlanta Public Schools. “I feel fortunate to have served in numerous capacities during my thirteen years in DCSD. And it has truly been my honor and pleasure to serve as your Principal for over four years. I am proud of the successes and growth we achieved together as a community and I look forward to hearing about even more Red Devil accomplishments in the years to come. “Mr. Arnold and I met with the Druid Hills High staff as well as the Advisory Council and PTSA Board during two meetings this afternoon to share the news and to outline the process for hiring the next Druid Hills High School Principal. “Please know that I will always (truncated)

  45. I actually laughed out loud at seeing Nov. 20 as an option. Who is going to be in school for one day on Thanksgiving week? Teachers will teach all day, and after the break, they will have to reteach for all the students whose families already made plans. December is the same problem. It is poor stewardship of taxpayer dollars to run buses and pay for lights those days.
    I would like to know how stakeholder input is being collected. There is no information about how to give input or from which stakeholders it is being sought.
    Plan J is the only plan that makes sense.

  46. Isn’t Ms. Cunningham married to Everett Patrick, former principal and the current interim HCM director? Maybe I’m mixing up people and connections.

  47. Weren’t we supposed to get the final decision about the hurricane make-up days on Oct. 16? Any word about what’s happening with that? If we’re going to lose a Thanksgiving day, it would be really helpful to know now.

  48. It should be any day now.

  49. Oh boy! Another month of late afternoons, extended classes, and more wear and tear on my aging self- not to mention irritated kids and parents.

    20 minutes a day for a month does not equal a real day of school.

    Just my kvetch.

  50. Exactly! I could not wait until Oct. 31 when schedules would go back to regular time. Now the county is extending the 20 minutes Nov 1 – 30! Oct. 31 will be regular hours. Children with Autism need consistent schedules and routines. These longer days are very hard on them.

  51. Product Of Dekalb Schools Myself

    In the big scheme of things, this is not a huge deal…seriously, I tell myself, it’s not. My kid’s afterschool activities are deep-sixed for yet another month (activities I already paid for based on the schedule shifting back end of Oct. BTW). It’s one thing – suck it up and move on, right?

    But it’s not the only thing we’ve put up with over the years from Dekalb County Schools, between the issues with the board, financial mismanagement, bleeding of talented administrators/teachers and a leader who is more interested in teacher pep rallies than actually allowing them to get ready for the school year (take that $100K and give it to the teachers for their classrooms – trust me, that will do more for morale than a ra-ra session the Friday before school starts). So, yes…it’s just one thing…but in a long line of one-things. They add up, folks – which is why Dekalb County schools has yet to win back my confidence and why I’m rolling my eyes yet again. I am counting the days until my youngest is out of the system or we move. Not sure which will be first at this point.