June 18, 2009

RUSD, REA announce school calendar changes

The big news from Racine Unified Wednesday was the addition of a school holiday to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. But, it turns out, there was a lot more to the school calendar changes. RUSD sent out a release Thursday afternoon -- in conjunction with the Racine Education Association, the teachers' union, whose agreement was required for other changes.

Here's the complete scoop on the next two years' school calendar.
The Racine Education Association (REA) and the Racine Unified School District (RUSD) are proud to announce an agreement has been reached between the two organizations regarding the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school year calendars. Negotiations between the teachers’ union and the district are still ongoing, and the School Board will hold a ratification vote on the final contract that will include the mutually agreed upon calendar upon the completion of contract negotiations.

Some of the important notable points regarding the agreed upon calendar for the 2009-2010 school year are:
  • Open houses for elementary and middle school families will be held on the evening of Monday, Aug.. 31, to allow students and parents/guardians to meet teachers prior to the start of school. Open houses had previously been held at the end of September or beginning of October.
  • The first day of school will be Sept. 1 which is before the Labor Day holiday. School will not be in session on Monday, Sept. 7 so staff and students can celebrate the Labor Day holiday.
  • There will be no school on Monday, Jan. 18, in celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. School will be in session on Monday, Jan. 25, which had been a Records Day in which school was not in session.
  • A winter break day has been scheduled for Feb. 26. This day could be used to make up any inclement weather days.
  • Schools will now have early release days for staff professional development instead of late start. On the following days all schools will release students two hours early: Sept. 18, Oct. 16, Nov. 13, Jan. 15, March 19 and May 14. In addition, elementary school students will be released three hours early on: Dec. 11 and Feb. 12 to allow for staff professional development.
  • Parent teacher conferences will be held as has been past practice in November before Thanksgiving Recess, and schools will add 2nd semester parent teacher conferences in March. Parent teacher conferences for families with students in grades 4K-5 will be held on March 4 and March 5. Elementary students will be dismissed two hours early on March 4 and will not have school on March 5. Middle and high school students will have a two hour early release on March 4 to allow for parent teacher conferences.

  • Nicholas Whitman, executive director of the REA, stated, “The completion of the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 calendars is a significant milestone. These calendars address many issues of considerable concern to REA’s leaders and members. The increased number of parent-teacher conferences should allow more parents to become involved in their children’s education. The early release days will allow employees access to the professional development and common planning time that are necessary to fully access the opportunities reflected in the jointly created North Star vision statement. And, the calendars provide an opportunity for REA to honor Dr. King, a legendary civil rights leader and employee rights advocate.”

    Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jim Shaw said “the calendar was developed cooperatively between the REA and district representatives. The calendar is designed to improve education by increasing professional development time for staff, honoring diversity, and by responding to families’ requests to build in inclement weather days and return to early release days.”


  1. Looks like a laundry list of non-teaching excuses!

  2. No, because the Department of Public Instruction requires so many days of instruction (and there's even a certain number of student-contact hours). So no matter how many breaks you configure, students in RUSD and students in other district will have a same minimum number of days.

    (Depending on whether schools build in snow days -- and then use them -- it's possible some districts might have a day or two more school. But all districts have the same required minimum number of days.)

  3. Lets hope this is the start of a great year for Unified and Shaw.

  4. The district remains the 2nd worst in Wisconsin, with no sign of improvement. The DOE wants to extend the teaching day and the length of the school year, but apparently no one in RUSD was interested.

  5. Anon 9:07
    Anyone who believes Unified is doing a good job has their head up their a**

  6. Good to see a second parent teacher conference added for all elementary schools. Red Apple has always had three parent/student/teacher conferences and this has helped build connections between home and school. Walden III and the REAL school also have three conferences I believe.

  7. I am happy that we finally have a set schedule. I am very happy that they have changed back to early release. It's much harder to get some one to drop the kids off late. I have been very satisfied with the education that my child is getting from Unified. First it was PCOC. By the end of the year she had learned how to write her name, knew all her colors, telephone number, etc. This past year she attended 4k at Red Apple. We couldn't have been more happy with the teachers and the education she got. I am not saying that Unified isn't without error, but I don't feel that it's all their fault. I think a lot comes from lazy parents and bad values that we have as a society. Cut the sports programs. Then we will have the money to educate our children. Also school needs to come first and we as parents needs to keep a heads up on our kids. If our child isn't doing well is is our job to find out why and work with the teachers to help them improve. School isn't a babysitting service for our children. Let's stop the blame game and work together to fix the problem.

  8. Red Apple dropped four rank positions in scholastic achievement, this year!

  9. when will parents step up and take responsibility? I know many teachers and principles and they think the same. If you really want your schools safer and better? How about raising kids that don,t threaten teachers??? Red Apple is a fine school but they are not surrogate parents there! What do you think out there?