Balanced Calendar Information

  • The Washoe County School District’s strategic plan, Envision WCSD 2015 – Investing In Our Future, called for important reforms to our school calendar to ensure that we are meeting the educational needs of all students:

    • End the semester before the winter break.

    • Shorten the summer break to reduce learning loss so that less time is spent on re-teaching and more time is spent on new learning.

    • Efficiently use our resources by starting all our schools on the same date.

    • Add meaningful instructional times at appropriate intervals like credit recovery period between semesters and enrichment and times for extra help between quarter.

    To meet these goals, a calendar committee was assembled in the fall of 2009 and tasked to develop a district-wide calendar that would maximize student learning and achievement for all students. They developed three calendars, town hall meetings were held, and a survey was released district-wide in the spring of 2011. One calendar emerged as the clear favorite.

    When this calendar was presented to the Board of Trustees in the spring of 2011, the Board asked for additional input from the community.

    The steps taken to gather input were:

    • Over 50 town hall meetings were held regionally in the fall of 2011
    • Connect Ed calls were sent to notify parents and staff members of the meetings
    • The local media helped by publishing the meetings on their websites and in print
    • The meetings were posted on Infinite Campus
    • Input from individuals was gathered on comment sheets at the meetings
    • A community-wide survey was made available to provide input and feedback
    • Comments about the draft calendar were recorded, tallied, and are as follows:
      • 24% would like to see a later start date
      • 23% would like to see the break change
      • 14% were worried about costs or pay or summer jobs
      • 8% were excited about the benefits for students
      • 8% would like to see transportation provided 
      • Trimesters (6%)
      • End Semester before Break (5%)
      • Attendance during Intersession (4%)
      • Don’t trust the school district (3%)
      • Can they catch up in a week? (2%)
      • Good for teachers (2%)
      • Good students are punished (2%)
      • Economic Impact (1%)
      • Teacher burnout (1%)
      • Only serves a few students (1%)
      • Childcare concerns (1%)
      • Should be free (.5%)

    Once the feedback was gathered, a second calendar option was developed in response to the feedback. This calendar option started a week later than the first option.

    The Calendar Committee reconvened on January 10, 2012. At that time, the committee was presented with the public feedback and the second calendar option. 

    The committee:

    • Felt that the later starting calendar (Option 2) met the request gathered in the public input process to start later in August
    • Agreed that the goals of the strategic plan were met

    As a result, a survey was opened in January 2012 to anyone including; parents, staff, students, and community members. It contained the two balanced calendar options that met both the key goals and responded to the input from the community.

    Survey Results:

    • 7751 parents, students, staff, and community members took the survey
    • 60.5% preferred the later start date (Option 2)
    • 6.2% did not vote for either option
    • 5.4% in the open questions said they did not like either calendar

    Using the feedback from the community, the Board of Trustees voted to implement the balanced calendar option 2 for the 2013-2014 school year.

    Calendar Features:

    • Start Date (Responded to the request for a later start date by starting the second Monday in August)
    • Students can recover credit during January 6-10 in both options
    • Students can get extra help during October, January, and April in both options
    • Students can have enrichment during October, January, and April in both options
    • Semester ends before winter break in both options.