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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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 Post subject: School days
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:17 pm 
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Among the numerous bills signed into law by the governor yesterday was one that removes the 180 day instructional requirement for school districts. The requirement will now be based on instructional hours, which was seen as a positive for rural school districts.
Tomahawk District Administrator Sherri Baker pointed out the signing at last night’s school board meeting. That’s because last month the board passed the 2014-2015 calendar pending the bills passage down in Madison.
The calendar approved by the board in March included 175 days, but lengthened each of those days by 10 minutes. Barring any unforeseen changes, the school year will start next year on September 2 and end June 5.


I have been thinking about this and have a few questions.
*By adding 10 minutes to each day how much instruction can be accomplished in that amount of time.
*Will the 10 minutes be at the end of the day or divided between all the class periods during the day, and if so what will be accomplished in that amount of time. If divided among the class periods, that is just over a minute per period, and what good is that going to do.
*What benefit will it be to the students to spend the additional 10 minutes in school each day.

In my humble opinion, this is taking away valuable time from the students and cheating them out of 5 days of instruction that can never be recovered by 10 minutes at a time.

Seems a bit ridiculous when you think about it.

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 Post subject: Re: School days
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 6:46 am 
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It saves the taxpayer 5 days of gas and upkeep for busses, bus drivers salaries, meals, teacher's salaries, operating expenses for keeping the school open. If you do the math, it's quite a bit of money saved or put to a better use or school program perhaps underfunded. It's about the money, more about the education. In Florida, some districts have talked about a 4 day school week to save money, but so far in my area has no come to pass. I don't see a problem with it. The students do not learn anything the last 5 days of the year, as it is exams and wrapping the school year up anyway. Just my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: School days
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:49 am 
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Doubt it saves much, if anything on teachers as I believe they get an annual pay anyway. However, there is a major portion that Old Scout missed. I believe they are also changing from an 8 class day to a 7 class day as part of the process (which lines up with many other areas). That, along with the extra 10 minutes in the day means teachers have an opportunity to get deeper into discussions and more time to further explore their topics.


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 Post subject: Re: School days
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:55 pm 
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7 class periods, 10 minutes per day amounts to 1.43 minutes per class period. :? I am sure a lot will be accomplished in that amount of time. yes the 7 period day will help but that extra 1.43 minute is still a joke when it comes to making up the lost time.

As for the last 5 days being wasted with exams and wrapping up the school year, that will still happen and now we are down to 170 days. The kids are still getting short changed.

The only ones to come out on top with this is the teachers gaining an additional 5 days of summer vacation while still getting paid a years salary. Well I guess some one has got to win on this deal. :)

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 Post subject: Re: School days
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:11 pm 
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It's really not about the teacher's pay, it is the cost of opening a school 5 extra days. How many busses to pick up and drop off, how many extra lunches to pay for, how much to keep the building open as far as heating/cooling, lights, maintenance people, lunch ladies, security and who ever else works at the school. Yes, teacher's are paid on salary, but the rest of the people are not. I bet if you add up the cost of the gas for the busses alone and the bus driver's salaries, crossing guards and the paychecks of everyone besides the teachers for 1 week, you would see it is probably in the thousands of dollars, which could be put to better use. I would love to see the numbers on this on the savings vs expense for 1 week of operating the school for both elementary and HS. I think it would be enlightening :)


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 Post subject: Re: School days
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:52 pm 
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Old Scout you're still missing it. Going from 8 class periods per day to 7 makes each class longer. Then adding the extra minute or so does as well. I believe it adds 8-10 minutes to each class, each day. As long as the kids get the same amount of teaching time overall why does it matter? In reality as long as the kids are still able to pay attention that long few days is more efficient because it takes time during each new class to do attendance, get the kids settled, etc. There should be more actual teaching time this way.


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 Post subject: Re: School days
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:55 pm 
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Actually you are missing my point.

The original point of this post was that I feel that the 10 minutes a day to make up 5 days is a joke.

10 minutes isn't going to make a bit of difference whether they are there for 7 periods or if it was 5 periods. Taking away 5 days in exchange for 10 minutes makes no sense.

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 Post subject: Re: School days
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:47 am 
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In Russia they go to school six days a week year around. That way the teachers are always working and the schools are always in use.

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 Post subject: Re: School days
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:13 am 
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Not sure about Russia but many schools in the USA have year round schools, but I don't think they go 6 days however.
I do know that in Italy, your child keeps the same teacher from kindergarten through grade 12. The teacher keeps the same group of children throughout the entire process and is trained to teach all grades. The kids get really attached to their teachers, and their same classmates, and like home away from home, like an extended family. The teacher's tenure then repeats for another 12 years and gets a new batch of little ones after she see's her last group through and graduate.


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 Post subject: Re: School days
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 9:06 pm 
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Old Scout wrote:
The original point of this post was that I feel that the 10 minutes a day to make up 5 days is a joke.


There is nothing funny about math. ;)

10 minutes x 5 days per week = 50 minutes per week

50 minutes per week x 35 weeks per school year = 1750 hours per school year

1750 hours = 29 hours, 10 minutes = 4.5 school days*

6 hours 30 minutes per day* / 8 periods = 48.75 minutes

6 hours 40 minutes per day* / 7 periods = 57.14 minutes

57.14 minutes - 48.75 minutes = 8.39 extra minutes per class period.

I think the quality of this time is more important than the quantity of this time. I think it depends on what, if any, changes are made to the actual curriculum and how daily lesson plans are handled. Even if they use the extra time for in class tutoring to make sure everyone is able to appropriately advance to the next lesson I think it would be worth it. I think it is more important to be concerned with the common core state standards than 10 minutes per day. This may be a problem, but the common core is a far bigger one.


*Based on the 6.5 hour minimum school day. I am not familiar with the exact time spent in each period.

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 Post subject: Re: School days
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 5:43 am 
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I really don't think you get it. :| It is about saving the school district "money". It is much more cost effective to keep the kids a few extra minutes per day to meet the set government standards for required school hours than to open a school for 6 extra days and pay for teachers, busses, gas, custodians, meals, office workers all involved. Why? Because they are already there working. It is about money, that is all. Personally, I believe the extra few minutes per day is more productive then the few days after memorial day when the kids already took their final exams, not learning anything new for the summer. I am for saving money whenever they can and use it to put back in programs that could be in jeopardy due to budget cuts.


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 Post subject: Re: School days
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:36 am 
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Renee class of '80 wrote:
I really don't think you get it. :| It is about saving the school district "money".


Why is the word money in quotes? Are you implying that the school really isn't saving money?

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