Sunday, June 4, 2023

APS Considers Changes to Calendar and Bell Schedules


Albuquerque Public School students could be starting school a week earlier, among other changes, under a newly-proposed calendar by the district. 

APS announced that the district is considering several changes to the 2023-2024 school year calendar on Thursday.

The announcement comes after the state legislature passed HB 130 would mandate more instructional time across schools in the state.  Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham is expected to sign the bill into law. 

"APS has always stood with state officials and members of our own school board who are adamant that student outcomes have to improve and that we, as school leaders, need to do everything in our power to make that happen, even if it’s uncomfortable and disrupts the status quo." Superintendent Scott Elder wrote in a statement. 

With the new proposal, APS would do the following: 

  • Increase the number of school days from 178 to 182 days.
  • The school year would start on Aug 3, about a week earlier than this year, and it would end on May 31 for most students. Transformational Opportunity Pilot schools would remain in school until June 10.
  • Summer and fall breaks would be shorter. However, students would have longer winter and spring breaks.
  • Quarterly grading schedule at all schools.
  • Elementary and middle school students, except for those attending  Transformational Opportunity Pilot schools, would have early release on most Wednesdays. This is to allow two hours of collaboration time for teachers in the district.

Elder also noted the possibility of a later start time for high school students- following suit with Las Cruces Public Schools and Santa Fe Public Schools. 

"A joint APS/Albuquerque Teachers Federation task force has been studying best practices for high schools and is recommending a later start time for those students, who now begin class at around 7:25 a.m. Some students have Zero Hour period at 6 a.m. The research shows that too-early start times result in more absences and tardies and lower test scores and graduation rates. The research also tells us that a later start time is better for the health of high school students." Elder said in the letter. 

Implementing later start times in high schools would impact the start times of elementary and middle schools. However, Elder did not state what that would look like.  "We’re working to iron out the details and will share those with you once they are finalized." He wrote. 

The APS school board is expected to vote on the proposal in April. Until then, the district is looking for community input that they can present to board members. The survey can be found here

"We recognize that this proposed calendar isn’t perfect. No calendar is, given the logistics involved with coordinating such things as bus schedules, professional development, athletics and so much more. But we feel it’s a good, solid plan that has the most promise for our students." Elder wrote. 

A copy of the proposed calendar can be found here



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