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Lawrence school board approves 2024-25 calendar

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The number of instructional days for students in the Lawrence school district will remain the same next year, but days off will vary because of a new structure for teacher planning days.

School board members on Monday unanimously approved the 2024-25 calendar, which maps out instructional days, no-school days, planning days for teachers and more.

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Language around days students are required to be in school per year will be slightly altered. During recent negotiations meetings, staff negotiation teams agreed the calendar should meet a range of 170 to 175 instructional days for all grades to provide teachers more flexibility. 

Currently, instructional days are based on a specific number of days by grade level: 170 for elementary school students; 173 for middle school students; and 175 for high school students.

Those numbers will remain the same next year, but the 170 to 175 range of total instructional days could better support student needs and give more of a buffer for potential inclement weather. One inclement weather makeup day — April 21, 2025 — is included in the approved calendar.

Parent teacher conference days are also counted fully as instructional days.

There are 186 teacher contract days in the calendar. Days for teacher planning will remain the same, but the structure will change next year. Plan time, work time, and reporting and recording time will be lumped together as “teacher readiness days.”

Next year’s calendar includes eight teacher readiness days in August, leading up to the beginning of the academic year. During these days, teachers will be planning lessons, documenting their work or participating in teacher learning sessions.

Eight additional days are sprinkled throughout the year, mostly on Mondays and Fridays, and one on a Wednesday, Sept. 18. Early childhood and kindergarten teachers will participate in a professional development day that Wednesday, so school will be out for their students.

Jayci Roberson and Jessica Rohrberg, the district’s calendar committee co-chairs, told board members Monday the committee wants the calendar to reflect better alignment of early childhood through 12th grade, which is a work in progress.

Previously, Fridays have often served as teacher planning days, but Rohrberg said the committee felt that implementing a Wednesday would create better variety.

“There was some feedback about kind of increasing our engagement in professional development,” Rohrberg said. “Also, a lot of talk with related services for special education. If one day is consistently off and you have kids scheduled on that day, we tend to miss those or have to make those up and shift around, so (we’re) trying to shift the days that are off.”

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Wednesdays, early release days, are also the days of the week with the least student contact, she said.

In addition, the committee was able to maintain the entire week off for students and nine-month staff for fall break, set for Nov. 25 through Nov. 29. Twelve-month staff will be scheduled to work Monday through Wednesday that week. Thursday and Friday would remain paid holidays for all eligible staff.

The first full day of school for kindergarten through 12th grade students is set for Aug. 14, 2024, and the last full day May 22, 2025. 

Spring break aligns with the University of Kansas’ spring break, falling on March 17 through March 21, 2025. As board member Carole Cadue-Blackwood suggested, Roberson and Rohrberg said they would consider Haskell Indian Nations University’s schedule, too.

2024-25-USD-497-Calendar

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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