By Bill Short
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Roger Christopher and seconded by Cody Childress.
Dr. David Roper, superintendent of Millington Municipal Schools, said school districts throughout Tennessee have traditionally adopted a calendar with 180 instructional days for students.
With the state’s approval, he said, the districts can use some of those “stockpiled” days as extra Professional Development days for staff members. But he noted that, when those are added, they are subtracted from student instructional days.
Roper called it “fairly common knowledge” that some of the municipal school districts in Shelby County have chosen to do that this year. He said the Millington district’s Calendar Committee has examined that and received “feedback” from the staff.
But Roper also noted that, during the four years that the district has been operating, many individuals have “worked very hard” to get student academic outcomes “on the increase.”
“We’re seeing that,” he said. “And given the progress that is being made, we don’t believe it’s in the students’ best interest to take away five instructional days.”
Roper noted that one of the municipal districts in the county is constructing a new school. So, it felt that it needed a “pushback” of five days on its Instructional Calendar to “reach a certain point” on the construction.
And “for whatever reason,” he said, some of the other districts decided that they would ask for the same calendar.
“That’s their judgment as to what they think is best,” Roper acknowledged. “I don’t agree that that’s best for our students. And in my judgment, the students always have to be the first and foremost consideration.”
Roper said the administration recommended a calendar that a majority of the respondents to its survey called their “No. 1 choice,” which still provides 180 instructional days for the students.
Along with the Fall and Spring Breaks, it includes another week for the Thanksgiving holiday.
“So, it’s not like our folks are not going to have any time off,” he concluded. “In my judgment, it’s the best of both worlds.”