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RPS leaders continue to discuss alternate academic calendars after disappointing test scores

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Posted at 11:27 PM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 23:27:19-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Public Schools considered a new calendar for next school year at a Monday night meeting.

RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras is trying to work in more instructional time and teacher planning as part of a plan to get students back on track. These efforts come after state growth assessment scores showed disappointing proficiency levels for students in reading and math.

At their last board meeting, Kamras presented three new calendar options that called for significant changes. The board asked for a fourth more traditional option to the existing calendar.

The newest option calls for student classroom days to go from 180 to 179 and 191 days for teachers, which reflects the current calendar. The school year would run from August 29 to June 23.

In addition to more instructional time, the division is trying to increase social-emotional learning time and build in more breaks, among other things.

On November 29, a division survey for families and staff went live, garnering more than 3,000 responses so far. The survey closes on December 24.

RPS is also holding virtual town halls and several community walks are underway across Richmond to engage families directly.

"It seems like families are leaning more toward keeping things the same. We've had some families that have noted that they do think the additional support is necessary just because of the gap that has happened with COVID. But a majority of families are leaning toward keeping the same" Chastity Rodriguez, RPS's Southside Community Health Coordinator said.

One thing that each calendar option has in common is that the school year starts before Labor Day.

However, the plans differ when it comes to costs.

Kamras said that Option D, which was the one presented at Monday night's meeting, would come at no additional cost to the division.

However, the costs to implement options A,B or C range between $8 and $13 million. This money would come from federal stimulus money and state grants.

To see all calendar options, click here.