MILWAUKEE -- Since November, the superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) has solicited public input to a proposed shifting of the school district's calendar. On Wednesday, December 14th, Dr. Darienne Driver and State Superintendent Tony Evers offered an update.
"It might sound like it's small, but it's a game changer for us," Driver said.
Driver says she has a plan to help MPS succeed. But she said it will take more instructional time during an academic year to do it.
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Superintendent Dr. Tony Evers stands in agreement.
"Expanded learning makes a difference," Evers said.
The initial proposal was changed to a phase-in approach. It calls for aligning all MPD high schools with the year-round and IB schools on a common start date in mid-August and a common end date in mid to late May beginning in the 2017-18 school year.
"The district itself has the ability to go on record and change the starting date unilaterally for special schools and schools that are struggling," Evers said.
In 2018-19, the proposal calls for all schools moving to an August to May calendar year, which would call for legislative action.
"I'm going to do whatever I can going forward as is part of my budget to have legislation change," Evers said.
This proposed schedule would make room for a four-week "J-term" in June.
"We would be able to use for credit recovery for students who might have failed a course, students who even have a D or C and want to improve," Driver said.
The "J-term" is in addition to the traditional summer school programming in July.
Although MPS has moved up a grade in the state report card, many students are still falling behind. The four-year high school graduation rate is 58.2 percent.
The next step is for the Milwaukee School Board to vote on the proposal to shift the school calendar to August from September.
Driver said she has heard concerns about the heat of August. But she said of the schools that are already open then, attendance is the best during August.