Lansing board discusses shortening school year

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

The Lansing school district has more than the required number of days in its academic calendar. And the superintendent will consult with other school district staff for recommendations regarding how to use these extra days.

Superintendent Dan Wessel raised the issue Monday during a Lansing Board of Education meeting.

He said the academic calendar for the current school year has 73.58 hours, or 11 days, more than what is required by the state government.

Wessel said the calendar was put together with the idea of having late starts to the school day numerous times throughout the year for the purpose of teacher collaboration. But plans for late starts fell by the wayside because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 7 is scheduled to be the last day of school for students for the current academic year. Wessel discussed the possibility of canceling some of the extra days to shorten the school year.

Board member Beth Stevenson proposed the idea of ending the school year early for some students but continuing it for students who are needing to catch up academically.

Board President John Dalbey Sr. suggested the extra days could be used to add a spring break to the calendar.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school year started later than usual, and no spring break is scheduled for this year.

Wessel said Tuesday that he will consult with a district leadership team of teachers and administrators to discuss ideas for what to do with the extra days. He said the issue will be brought to school board members next month.

Also Monday, board members discussed the possibility of having students in kindergarten through the fifth grade attend in-person classes five days a week.

Currently, students are allowed to attend classes in school buildings four days a week and receive remote instruction one day each week.

Based on the discussion by school board members, Wessel said the instruction schedule will not change for kindergarten through the fifth grade.

The superintendent said he will send a message to parents to explain why the district will stick with the schedule of four days of in-person classes and one day of remote instruction.

He said the reasons include the fact that people have already set their schedules around this model.

Wessel the day of remote instruction each week allows for collaboration time for teachers. He said teachers also sometimes use this day to provide additional help to students.

And making no change will keep the schedule for the elementary and intermediate schools consistent with the schedule for middle school and high school students.

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