The Kingman Unified School District (KUSD) is tweaking its school calendar again. Still in the first year of a new 45-10 structure, the school board voted 5-0 February 9 to convert to a four day school calendar at the start of the next school year.
Superintendent Roger Jacks said some of the same considerations involving the switch to 45-10 also play into the decision to change to a Monday-Thursday calendar. Jacks said the proposal enjoys broad support, that some savings will occur and that quality of education can be maintained.
Jacks told Board members the District can save about $360,000 a year in a four day calendar, mostly in the transportation and utility arena. He said surveys of the general community, staff and students all generated support of 75% and above.
Jacks said surveys show different impacts when it comes to quality of education from district to district. He said proper implementation by local district administrators and teachers can maintain quality of education in a shorter week.
Kingman High School Principal Rusty Moomey said there must be a concentrated effort to maintain the attention span of students and keep them engaged as each of their class periods could be extended three to ten minutes, to contemplate for loss of an entire school day on Friday.
“We need to be more focused as instructors on our curriculum and we’re not quite there yet,” Moomey said. “We work really hard and our kids work really hard, but we’ve got work to do. We’ve got some things to do as administrators.”
Lee Williams High School Principal Gretchen Dorner expressed confidence that staff and students can excel in a shorter week, adding it just takes a little leap of faith.
“It is scary to change the structure because it is historically familiar, but we can do this,” Dorner said.
School Board President Dr. Charlie Lucero said he believes administrators and staff will rise to the challenge.
Board member Laurie Voss Barthlow said the various meetings and discussions have allayed her concerns about the possible detriment of a little less class time.
“I just had some second thoughts about the loss of instructional time,” Barthlow said. “With the reassurance of the high school principals and administration…with a little bit of trepidation I’m going to go ahead and support it.”
Following approval of the four day school week, the Board voted unanimously to abandon the KUSD’s “late start Wednesday’s” at the start of the next school year.