School board formulating calendar for 2017-18

April 10, 2017 GMT

NEEDLES —A large component of the Local Control and Accountability Plan for the Needles Unified School District is professional development. One of the major projects that NUSD superintendent Mary McNeil, Ph.D. is assessing is the the school district’s ability to provide professional development.

“This year we had the teachers do a lot of collaboration when writing unit plans and creating instructional lesson plans which is a key component of our 21st century teacher and learning skills. In doing that, one of the factors that caused bumps for us is the lack of substitute teachers,” said McNeil.

“As I worked with my team we tried to figure out how can we maximize our ability to provide time for teachers to plan instructional lessons, unit plans and look over data from math assessments,” McNeil continued. “In the past we’ve tried things like extended early release days where we had teachers working until 4:10 p.m., once or twice a month. It was effective only that sometimes we did’t have something that needed to go that late, so I don’t want to make up work for teachers to do. I really want the work to come from our teachers.”

McNeil presented a draft for the 2017-18 school year calendar, which includes every Wednesday as an early release day. The first day of school would be right around the same time as this year’s and the winter break would start on Dec. 21.

“This would give us time to do professional development and it would give our teachers time to get together and look at the data within their classrooms and grade level,” said McNeil. “By law, we need to make sure that we meet our instructional minute criteria so I’m going to work with the principals, teachers and our associations to insure that we develop a schedule that meets those requirements.”