The Ottumwa Courier

Education

July 31, 2013

Proposed calendar changes worry superintendents

OTTUMWA — The question, on the surface, is pretty simple: When should Iowa school districts be allowed to start classes?

In reality, it's more complex. How long students must be in class helps define when school starts, both in terms of getting out in time to allow for a decent summer break and getting back before everything is forgotten. And when class starts helps define when it ends.

A new proposal before the Iowa State Board of Education would allow districts to define the academic year as either 180 days of classroom instruction or as 1,080 hours. But other details, including the process for establishing the start of the school year, are causing concern.

The proposed rules would require schools to start no earlier than the week that includes Sept. 1. Two waiver processes would be available for districts that want to start earlier. For those who want to start up to seven days earlier, the process is expedited. More than that, and the district would be required to provide evidence that includes specific evidence of harm to the educational process.

Cardinal Superintendent Joel Pedersen is not prepared to dismiss the proposal, but neither is he ready to embrace it.

“I just really need more time to process it,” he said.

Pedersen's preference is for local control. He doesn't see how students gain from having a one-size-fits-all decision made by people who aren't part of the local districts that must adjust. But he's sympathetic to the idea that there need to be some guidelines in place.

For Cardinal, the start time is usually tied to the state fair. The district usually starts midweek during the week after the fair wraps up. This year, the fair ends August 18 and the district begins classes two days later.

That's right at the edge of when the new proposal would allow districts to start classes. Cardinal would need a seven-day waiver for it, which it has sought in the past, but not the longer waiver with the more stringent requirements.

Text Only
Education
  • 0710 OTT Bulldogs update color photo -L -M High school students lead Bulldog charge

    OTTUMWA — Two Ottumwa High School students gave their very first press conference Wednesday morning to share their progress on decorating Ottumwa with large bulldog statues. Alyssa Cash and Madyson Feather joined Main Street Ottumwa Executive Directo

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0710 OTT Smart snacks color photo -M -L Schools adopt new food regulations

    OTTUMWA — This fall, students across the country will find big changes in the cafeteria, but Ottumwa kids may find they approve of the changes. The new "Smart Snacks in School" standards from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) went in

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Survey finds math, science grads earn top dollar WASHINGTON (AP) — It seems to matter less whether your alma mater is public or private than what you study — math and science in particular — when it comes to finding a high-paying job after college, according to a report released Tuesday by the Educ

    July 8, 2014

  • Pekin and Tri-County to share superintendent PACKWOOD — Both Pekin and Tri-County Community School Districts have voted to approve Operational Sharing Incentives for superintendent during the 2014-15 school year. During the 2014 legislative session, the Legislature passed and the governor signe

    July 2, 2014

  • Teaching the teachers

    OTTUMWA — The community has formally advised the school district that strong teachers lead to strong students. Now Ottumwa teachers have "coaches" to help them boost educational muscle. Though the idea is now formalized under a Legislative state plan

    May 29, 2014

  • 0525 OTT OHS graduation web-color photo 3 OHS seniors say farewell OTTUMWA - Sunday marked the end of high school for all the graduating seniors from Ottumwa High School. Family and friends of the students packed the Bridge View Center, leaving standing room only for late-comers. You could feel the excitement in the

    May 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • Slideshow: OHS graduation

    May 25, 2014

  • 0524 OTT OCS graduation web-color photo 3 Small ceremony for big achievements OTTUMWA - Saturday was a special day for the four seniors graduating from Ottumwa Christian School. This small graduating class is double the size of last year's class and illustrates the small-group learning style of the school. Family and friends o

    May 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Slideshow: Ottumwa Christian graduation

    May 24, 2014

  • IHCC partners with WPU OTTUMWA -- Indian Hills Community College and William Penn University have announced a partnership that should provide a seamless academic progression for nurses who choose to enroll in a RN-BSN program after receiving their registered nursing licens

    May 23, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National