Parents and students voiced their opinions at Tuesday's school board meeting about the calendar options that could be adopted for the 2015-16 school year -- many being in favor of the non-traditional calendars.
Mark McCoy, the district's director of human resources, along with Association of Pleasanton Teachers member Paul Stewart and California School Employees Association member Lisa Lorentz presented the district calendar committee's results from the staff survey and community feedback, and the benefits and challenges of the non-traditional calendar options.
The main purpose for changing the calendar is to better serve the academic and social-emotional needs of the Pleasanton students, according to Tuesday's presentation.
McCoy presented examples of teachers using the calendar debate as a part of their lessons, and the results received from the students.
Walnut Grove Elementary fourth graders in Mrs. Lim's class wrote essays about what calendar option they feel is best for students and why -- 25% liked the current traditional calendar and 75% favored a non-traditional calendar with 66% preferring one of the modified options.
"Frequent short breaks will give our families more rest and vacation time," wrote a group of Mrs. Lim's fourth graders in favor of the modified hybrid calendar. "According to research, breaks help kids stay more engaged and energized about learning."
On the other hand, Donlan Elementary parent Denise Shoehart is in favor of keeping the traditional calendar. She explained to the board that although breaks may help student stress and academic performance, family time is also important -- which will be hard to achieve for students with parents teaching in another district or vice versa.
"We all to need to remember it's Pleasanton students that we're talking about here," said Pleasanton parent Beth McCarthy, who is in favor of modified hybrid and modified lite calendars. "Though we have teachers with students in other districts, we're talking about our students and what's best for them."
The school board will vote for the 2015-16 calendar at the June 3 meeting.
In other business, the school board voted unanimous to eliminate the Staggered Literacy Program for third grade during the 2014-15 school year due to recent survey results of third grade teachers and the loss of instruction time coupled with the increased third grade curriculum along with Common Core Standards.
Also on Tuesday, the board appointed the new director of special education as Marla Silversmith who worked in Pleasanton Unified School District from August 2007 to January 2013. Silversmith will be coming from Dublin Unified as their assistant director of special education.
In addition, the board appointed Mike Williams from Cabrillo Unified School District and Nimarta Grewal from Pleasanton Middle School as Amador Valley High School's new vice principals.
Foothill High School's new vice principal will be Ryan Templeman, Harvest Park and Pleasanton middle schools current vice principal.
During the public comment session, the school board heard from four students and one parent about the reduction of sections in Foothill's German program.
Speakers hope the board considers this as an agenda item and finds a way to stop the section removals.
Board members also unanimously approved the issuance of PUSD 2013 General Obligation Refunding Bonds.
Other matters discussed at Tuesday's meeting included the May revisions to the Governor's proposed budget, and the Local Control and Accountability Plan.
The next board meeting will be held on June 3 at 7 p.m. in the district boardroom, 4665 Bernal Ave.