Feb 17 2017

2017-18 School Calendar Finalized

The Joint MTI/MMSD Calendar Committee has reached agreement on the 2017-18 calendar.  For a copy of the official 2017-18 calendar click here.  

The highlights of the calendar are:

  • New teacher mandatory days – August 23-25

  • Staff Only/Prep days – August 28-31

  • Voluntary day – September 1

  • Labor Day holiday – September 4

  • Beginning of first semester – September 5

  • Compensatory Day – November 22 (for those doing parent-teacher conferences or related work)

  • Thanksgiving Break – November 23-24

  • Winter Break – December 22-January 2

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday – January 15

  • Beginning of second semester – January 22

  • Spring Break – March 26-30

  • Memorial Day holiday – May 28

  • End of student school year – June 8

  • High School graduations (weekend of June 8)

  • Last work day for staff – June 11

The 2017-18 calendar represents a series of compromises in a school year that contains several challenging holiday dates.  It is the product of multiple meetings and many hours of work by MTI members of the Joint Committee, which sought to represent and balance members’ interests while maneuvering through a system impacted by many factors, including State laws, DPI regulations, and BOE policies.  The above dates represent a 192 day contract for continuing teachers comprised of 176 student days; 4 staff-only (PD) days before the school year begins; 1 voluntary day before the school year begins; 6 staff-only (PD) days throughout the school year; 1 comp day; and 4 paid holidays.

The 8-day winter break represents an improvement in the District’s proposed break.  While it is not the full 10 days that many members preferred, it was the only viable option, given the above.  Other school districts in the area and around the state have 6 or 7-day breaks, with only one other district having an 8-day break.  The power of the membership resulted in this compromise, among others, on Administration’s part.  No winter break days were given up for staff-only (PD) days.  There will be some additional minutes of instruction added to the student day in order to comply with DPI regulations, but these minutes will not impact contract hours or total number of days worked (i.e. returning teachers will continue to work a  192 day contract).

The procedure for establishing the school calendar is provided in the Employee Handbook, agreed upon by both MTI and MMSD.  It is because of MTI’s continuous involvement and diligence that MTI-represented employees have a voice in the process of determining the calendar each year.  Discussions about the 2017-18 school calendar did not begin until well into the current school year, resulting in some dissatisfaction among MTI members; the parties have agreed to begin discussions for the 2018-19 school calendar immediately upon completion of the 2017-18 calendar.  This should result in better communication and more time for member feedback.

Both parties recognize that there are concerns relative to staff-only (PD) days, and the Joint Committee will continue to meet to determine how these days are used and when they should occur.  Administration prefers that staff-only (PD) days get scheduled in a 6-to-8-week rotation that aligns with the student learning cycle.  There is a preference to have all PD during paid time, rather than asking teachers to do the work outside of contract hours, when teachers would receive lesser pay.  The parties also have an on-going concern about the shortage of substitute teachers.  Having staff-only (PD) days during the contract year should diminish the need for subs by decreasing the number of “days away,” which impact student learning and create challenges for staff who are not on a “day away.”  MTI has also voiced the concern of members relative to having meaningful PD that relates directly to the individual teacher.

MTI members can impact the quality of PD in their schools by becoming members of their school-based leadership teams.  The Handbook provides that the structure of staff-only (PD) days will be determined collaboratively at the building level by the principal and the SBLT.  The time should include collaborative learning that supports and enhances the quality of teaching and is aligned to each school’s SIP goals and strategies.  MTI faculty representatives can also represent members’ interests via the collaborative problem-solving process, in which all faculty representatives and principals have been trained and which is in place in all schools.

Thank you to the members of the MTI Joint Calendar Committee for their hard work and perseverance:  Andy Waity (Crestwood), Cindy Ball (Jefferson), Andrew McCuaig (LaFollette), Amy Turkowski (Franklin), and Karen Vieth (Sherman).