Carson teachers get more training time with 2022-23 calendar

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The Carson City School District Board of Trustees approved the 2022-23 school year calendar last week with minor changes from previous calendars.
Tasha Fuson, associate superintendent of educational services, shared the first draft of the document had been shared with the district’s association presidents, posted to the website and e-mailed to community partners.
As is custom, dates were compared against neighboring counties Lyon, Douglas and Washoe to remain on a similar timeline for start dates, breaks, sporting events and graduation dates. Fuson said the district worked to align itself with its neighbors as much as possible to accommodate itself where it could as families plan for its vacation schedules.
Start dates are Aug. 15 for K-12 and Aug. 22 for pre-kindergarten students in Carson City. Thanksgiving break will be Nov. 21 to 25, winter break will be Dec. 22 to Jan. 6, 2023, and spring break is April 3 to 10.
The last day of school for students and teachers is June 1, with June 2, 5 and 6 designated as makeup days if necessary. Pioneer High School’s graduation will be June 1 and Carson High School’s graduation is June 3.
The major considerations this year, however, were adding in contingency days for inclement weather or combining professional learning days as needed. The latter especially was important to staff members who said meeting on a monthly basis was not enough to be productive, Fuson reported.
In response to a number of requests, using its Nevada Revised Statutes’ allotment for five professional learning days, Fuson said the proposed calendar combines its early release days and professional learning days into 16 minimum professional learning days on Wednesdays in which meetings are held two times a month for two-and-a-half hours with one full professional learning day per quarter to accommodate teachers and site administrators.
“By the time they get students off campus and picked up, they’re really only ending up meeting one hour and 45 minutes,” she said. “They’re spending that time recapping talking about what they’ve talked about a month ago and then trying to move on. … So this was our happy medium for that.”
Staff also sought opportunities to work on social-emotional curricula, which require time to work on common plans, she added.
Overall, the new calendar does increase instructional minutes throughout the course of the school year, which the district is bound to fulfill rather than by days.
Board President Richard Varner worried with adjusting the schedule to adapt to the twice-a-month professional learning schedule for staff members, expressing concerns from parents about difficulties finding child care for students on early release days.
Fuson said she highly recommended the possibility for parents to consider looking at community organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs who might be able to provide assistance when they offer enrollment as a compromise.
Trustee Mike Walker said educators require time to train to achieve the growth for their students expected of them.
“There’s some of us who are pushing the district very hard about test scores,” he said. “You can’t expect practices to change if you’re not allowing time to have professional development. And so we have to figure out, are we going to push, push, push and not give resources to make the change we’re expecting or are we going to maintain status quo and then we’re going to get the status quo. It’s tough.”
During public comment, Janie Davis, Parent Teacher Organization president at Carson Middle School and a substitute teacher who has worked at all levels in CCSD, requested the board to consider adding time for parent-teacher conferences at the middle school level.
“Middle school students don’t need their parents less after elementary school,” Davis said. “They need them more to help them navigate them through all the changes they are going through.”
Davis explained working as a junior high math resource teacher, such meetings help to foster positive relationships with parents. Although some parents often do not make the effort to come after school or occasionally have reported to her they feel unwelcome or lose a connection to their child’s world after entering middle school, she said she hoped some time would be designated in the district’s calendar for parent-teacher conferences.

Addressing Davis’ comment, Fuson said prior conversations with Carson Middle School Principal Dan Sadler have indicated the student-led conferences that occurred for six years, based on family feedback, “were not deemed highly effective.”
Fuson also noted the typical middle school teacher now has 150 students a day versus the elementary teacher’s total average of 25 students, which also makes it a challenge for most staff members at that level, so arranging three minimum days in the calendar for conferences is not mathematically possible.
The board approved the calendar in a 6-1 vote, with Varner opposing.


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