Evanston/Skokie District 65 administrators recommended to the school board at last night's meeting an amendment to the 2017-18 calendar that does not require students to make up the Feb. 9 snow day and keeps June 4 as the last day of school.
The approved 2017-18 calendar listed June 4 as the last day of school for students and included five emergency days at the end of the year to be used in the event of unscheduled school closings, which means that students would make up the snow day on June 5.
Instead, Beatrice Davis, assistant superintendent of human resources, recommended that June 5 be used as a full-day School Improvement Day for 10-month employees, which would be used for school safety and crisis training or meetings of school climate teams.
The administration also recommends a change to the 2018-19 calendar that would add two full-day School Improvement days at the beginning of the year and adjust the last day of school from June 5 to June 3, 2019.
According to Superintendent Paul Goren, the district is committed to equity but there have been challenges getting everyone through Beyond Diversity training during the current school year because of the difficulty in finding substitutes.
Adding two professional days at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year will provide Beyond Diversity training to all new teachers as well as any who did not complete the training during the current school year.
The change in the calendar reduces the number of teaching days from 176 to 174 for 2018-19. Davis explained that the Illinois Board of Education approved a calendar waiver in 2016 to accommodate added professional learning opportunities for teachers, administrators and support staff.
Board member Candace Chow asked if the administration had considered the impact of the loss of two days of instruction.
Davis responded that additional training days are “better than the impact of pulling teachers out of class for training,” especially because of the shortage of substitute teachers.
Goran added, “This is a special case to get the lift of equity training for everyone.”
According to the proposed 2018-19 calendar, the first day of school remains as Monday., Aug. 27, with the last day on Monday, June 3.
Both amended calendars will be presented to the board for approval at its next meeting on March 19.