Caddo School Frustration That Must Be Fixed

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Educational Requirementsby Marion Marks

The LA Department of Education requires student have 63,720 minutes of teacher class contact time to meet school credit requirements.* In the 2014-15 Caddo high school calendar, and the one approved for next year (2015-16) there were NO extra day(s) built in for potential weather related closing. Both school calendars start the first day of class short one(1) day even before the calculation of lost weather days, when schools are closed! Caddo already lost four(4) days this year due to weather.

HighSchool-required classesA typical calendar day is calculated based on 360 minutes of classroom contact per day for classes. This normally computes to 177 days for students. To be prudent, schools normally build an extra day into the schedule, making 178 calendar days to allow for one inclement day. Usually in Louisiana that is enough. The one thing schools never want to do is start out in a hole, short one day. 63,720 minutes are required according to the Department of Education (DOE), which computes to 177 days with 360 minutes of student-teacher class-contact each day to get to the magic number.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • All Caddo high schools have had to add time to the day to make up for the three(3) weather days as well as the one(1) day that the calendar was already short. See FaceBook posts in Transparency in Caddo Parish Education Reform, Open the Talks.

  • All schools are handling the missing days differently, because they are making up lost contact time with students by shuffling activities that the state counts as instructional time as seen in the posts.

  • Prior to the start of the school year, schedules were submitted to the state, which will probably admit they did not catch the omission in the schedule that was properly submitted and approved.

2015-2016-parish-school-calendar-page-1Next school year (2015-2016):[Approved 3/17/2015!]

  1. School starts on and the August 6th for teachers, but doesn’t get out until May 27th.

  2. Starting so early is especially hard on elementary students, due to the heat. Rational for this has been to “get in more days before testing.”

  3. CPSB added three(3) holidays (out of school) for Mardi Gras. Teachers and administrators are universally stunned by these holidays prior to testing and the number of holidays.

  4. There are now six (6) holidays in the crucial period between return from Christmas break and testing. This is the most likely time for weather related absences and if families plan trips, schools cannot cancel these days to make up for weather delays.

  5. The first three weeks back from Christmas Break contain four(4) holidays.

  6. Students are back from the Mardi Gras break for only two(2) days and students are then out again the next Monday.

In Bossier Parish:

Bossier Parish, Louisiana
Bossier Parish
  • BPSB has scheduled only two days during the crucial pre-testing period for holidays, MLK Day and President’s Day [remember Caddo has six(6)!]

  • Bossier students start on Aug 10 and get out May 20.

  • Bossier’s test scores are higher than Caddo’s.

Who is responsible for this apparent poor planning? Who accepts the responsibility for penalizing students, families, teachers and taxpayers? The central office should be asked hard questions and held accountable to explain why the calendar is not up to DOE standards and why students are put at an intentional disadvantage.

Caddo Superintendent Lamar Goree
Caddo Superintendent Lamar Goree

The Caddo School calendar, after the central office builds a model, goes from the administration to the CPSB for review, who sends it to the DOE in Baton Rouge. But to be fair, no one caught it this year or next year before it was sent for approval. It appears that oversight by the DOE is also non-existent… So, with all the focus of Common Core, Accountability and the Bond Package, what everyone really needs to ask is, Who is running our schools? Is it any wonder taxpayers, parents, students and teachers are frustrated? So, Superintendent Lamar Goree, will you fix this oversight and answer to the public why the negative and punitive issues of the calendar and fixing the DOE requirements?

*facts checked with DOE and Red River United for class contact requirements for students/teachers.

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