Friday, September 21, 2012

Handbook Focus Group Discussion III

Here is a portion of the transcripts from the handbook focus groups last spring. I met with
six different groups for 1-2 hours. The information I gathered was very informative and
I appreciated the time people spent telling me what was most important to them as we
considered the Handbook. The following comments are regarding the topic of The School
Calendar.

This represents information from all focus groups:

  • Only the JEA is involved in setting the calendar. We weren’t allowed to participate. Our group would like to be involved in this process.
  • I would like to see some way that ERT time could have additional opportunities. There isn’t enough days that it can be used.
  • I like that a committee reviews the calendar. It seems democratic. Everyone has a chance to give input.
  • I don’t see the harm in the other groups having the same input or vote on the calendar.
  • I think there is a concern about year round school.
  • Yearlong school was beneficial in the inner city where I worked. It gave students something year round to be a part of. It needs to be the best fit for the community and parents. I think we do a good job with summer school and august academies.
  • There are opportunities for students year round.
  • People like the built in snow day make up.
  • We would still have the 180 contact days with additional days for work (185 contract days).
  • I do think it helps employees to feel they have control over their work time with ERT and optional work days.
  • If there is a chance of year round school, we will have to figure out how to clean the schools during break times.
  • Built in snow day make up is helpful for custodians too. Not having to make it up on Saturdays.
  • I think the calendar works, the only day that is weird is the non-paid non-work day, although the day is placed well in the calendar. Some people would like a voice into setting the calendar.
  • Knowing the calendar ahead of time, can we find a way to do it longer than a year at a time?
  • Give everyone a voice.
  • Optional work days in place the last couple years have been very helpful.
  • Works great now.
  • Maybe all employees have a voice instead of just JEA.
  • I like how it is, I think it works.
  • Consideration needs to be made for people of other religions, make compensation for them through personal days.
  • October conferences are during PE conference. This is a conflict.
  • I think it works well. We collaborate. I like the process.
  • I like the process.
  • Is there administrative thought to needing a longer school year?
  • The last contract negotiations…190 days was the longest in the big 8. If we are going to work more and we want to attract and retain the best we should be paid more.
  • We would need a strong purpose to extend beyond the current 190 days.
  • I like the ERT and the optional work days.
  • It acknowledges that we have unique needs and allows for that (ERT and optional work days)
  • I think that classroom aids should have a vote on when breaks are (Christmas, spring, etc.)
  • I think people are more knowledgeable. We can share correct information, not misguided information. I think that there should be representation from everyone.
  • It would be nice to have a voice in setting the calendar.
  • Has been a JEA thing in the past. Get everyone's input. Would be more equitable.
  • To have a complete calendar in November for the next school year due to requests. Major things should be looked at and built in. Look at major conferences so staff can attend. Ask representatives from each area to represent those areas.

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