MAPS BoE approves new calendar for remainder of school year
The Merrill Area Public Schools Board of Education (BoE) called a special meeting to order on Wednesday, May 6, to discuss whether or not to approve a new calendar for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. The new calendar includes moving the final day of school from June 10 to May 22, adding more professional development days for staff, a high school remediation period on May 28-29 and access to schools for students to gather their belongings.
The BoE unanimously approved the revised calendar by voice vote.
MAPS Superintendent Dr. John Sample explained his decision on making changes to the school calendar.
“While I made a decision as late as last week (April 29) to maintain the current calendar as approved by the Board last year, I have since reconsidered my decision,” said Dr. Sample. “I continue to hear from many parents, students and staff as they share their experiences. It is our mission as a district to benefit all stakeholders: students, families and staff. It is not our intention to create a burden and place the social-emotional well-being of our students in jeopardy.”
“Everybody associated with MAPS has worked extremely hard to maintain fidelity to instruction and accountability for our students’ learning,”
“Our homes have become our offices, classrooms, and meeting locations. Instruction has been the priority, void of most social-emotional activities such as athletics, dances, plays, musicals, classroom celebrations and school assemblies. Everybody associated with MAPS has done a phenomenal job of rising to the challenges placed before us.”
According to Dr. Sample, the revised calendar will allow the school district to review many key areas including:
Professional Development Needs:
Administrators and teachers will require professional development time to determine the needs of students, from a current perspective; as well as, the gaps that must be addressed in the future. We require time to analyze student progress and identify the specific standards we must address in order to be accountable to our students’ learning.
Meals will continue through Wednesday, June 10. We have the authority to provide meals through the month of June. We are working to determine the financial impact of providing meals beyond the original end date, that has not been determined at this time.
Staff and student building access will need to be scheduled on a rotational basis to close out the year and to avoid large groups of people in the buildings. We will determine the dates and times based upon the status of the Safer-At-Home order.
Student and Staff Wellness:
During this virtual experience, learning has included paying attention to the social and emotional needs of students, staff, and families. We acknowledge that many parents/caregivers are also working from home while assisting with student learning. In reviewing family feedback, students and family members continue to experience stress with the lengthening of this virtual environment of learning. This topic summary addresses these concerns and provides a proactive response to address the stressors that families are experiencing.
We will be asking the Board to approve the waiver for instructional minutes and Educator Effectiveness at the Public Hearing on Wednesday, May 20 prior to our regular Board Meeting. We have been assured that all waivers will be approved. The revised calendar, when compared to the current calendar, will indicate a shortage of approximately one day at the elementary level and eight days for most students at the middle school and high school level. The instructional minutes waiver specifically states: Waiver of requirements of Wis. Stat. §121.02(1)(f) and the administrative rules promulgated by the department regarding required instructional hours for students for the 2019-2020 school year only due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.