How is the calendar developed each year?

Each year a committee made up of district staff and Madison Teachers Inc. (MTI) representatives meet over a series of months to finalize the next year’s school calendar.

What does the committee consider when developing the calendar?

The committee takes into account state laws, Department of Public Instruction (DPI) regulations, board of education policies, provisions of the employee handbook and religious holidays. These various provisions impact such things as school start date, the number of contracted work days and the number of conferences and Professional Development (PD) days.

In addition, we consider professional learning needs of our school staff, time for staff to analyze data and time  dedicated to implement each school’s School Improvement Plan (SIP).  We also consult with staff and family advisory groups about their preferences for length of breaks, the start and end of school year, scheduling conferences and so on.

Why is the district increasing the number of districtwide Professional Development (PD) days?

In previous school years, each school would independently schedule additional Professional Development opportunities for their staff, which would require securing substitutes for their teacher teams. Like many school districts, we we have a shortage of substitute teachers. Adding two dedicated PD days — days that would otherwise require teachers to be away from the classroom when school is in session — will lessen the need to secure substitute teachers in a time when substitutes are in short supply.

Why are Professional Development (PD) days necessary?

Professional learning promotes a thriving workforce and continuous improvement across the district. High-quality teacher teams are the cornerstone of great teaching in our schools. Research links teacher collaboration with higher levels of student achievement. Our teacher teams pursue common instructional purposes and goals, examine student learning and share their unique expertise. Building two additional days into the calendar for teachers to analyze and share data and collaborate supports the regular cycle of planning, teaching and then reflecting and adjusting.

Why are 5 minutes being added to the end of the school day?

With the two additional days dedicated to staff Professional Development, we need to add the 5 minutes to maintain the same number of instructional minutes we currently have built into the calendar.

Instead of adding 5 minutes to the end of each school day, why not add two days at the end of the year?

We cannot add additional contract days for teachers beyond the 192 days currently provided for by the MMSD Employee Handbook.

I don’t remember seeing religious holidays highlighted within the calendar before. Why are they included in this document?

These are dates when schools cannot schedule evening events, exams, athletic events/contests, field trips or other special events. We previously listed these dates separately. Including them in one document will help staff avoid unintentionally scheduling events on these days.

What are some things to note about the calendar that affect 4K?

Previously students in the 4K AM session attended school on early release days. In 2017-18, 4K will not have any AM or PM classes on early release days.

What will happen if we have more than two days of school cancelled because of weather?

If more than two days are cancelled because of weather, we will cancel the April 27 Professional Development day and school will be in session for all K4–12th grade students.

How can I give feedback?

Discussion and planning for the 2018-19 school calendar will begin in May 2017. Our goal is to improve our timeline, process and communication. We welcome your feedback as a part of this process.