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Posted March 17, 2015

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Thanks for Your Input; It Drives our Decision-Making

Thousands of students, parents and employees have responded to online surveys on high school bell schedules, a snow make-up day and virtual learning.

Thanks to the thousands of APS stakeholders who have responded to recent online surveys that provide important feedback on issues impacting students, families and employees.

Snow Make-Up Day
More than 11,000 people responded to a questionnaire on when APS should make up its snow day. Respondents overwhelming preferred using a planned parent conference day for high schoolers on Thursday, March 19, and making up missed conferences at the middle and elementary levels before and after school over making up the missed day after Memorial Day.

High School Bell Schedule
Nearly 6,000 people responded to last week's survey on a proposal to change the high school bell schedule. Participants were asked to choose their favorite of three schedules:

  • The current modified block schedule in which students have most classes three times a week
  • A more traditional seven-period schedule in which students have all of their classes daily or
  • A hybrid schedule in which students would have most of their classes four days a week.

Nearly two thirds of those participating in the survey support a new schedule, with the traditional seven-period day garnering more support than the hybrid schedule.

Students prefer the schedule they're used to, while parents strongly support change.

Of the more than 1,500 students who participated in the survey, 44% chose the current schedule compared to 37% for the hybrid schedule and 19% for the seven-period day.

Of the 2,600 parents who took the survey, 64% favor change, with 43% preferring the more traditional seven-period day compared to 21% for the hybrid schedule.

The 800-plus teachers who took part in the survey were more evenly divided between the current schedule, which got 39% of the support, and the seven-period day which got 35% of the teacher vote.

Though the survey was unscientific, its results are providing helpful feedback as a final decision on the bell schedule is being made. The district hopes to announce that decision in the coming days.

The primary reason the district is considering changing the schedule is to improve the academic success and graduation rate of our students. Under both proposed schedules, teachers would see their students more often than they do now, and most classes would be smaller. This also is a way to help cut costs with the least impact to students.

Virtual School
APS is asking parents to complete an online survey about virtual learning that the district will use to help develop its newest School of Choice, a full-time online school for students in grades 6-12. Among the questions the survey asks:

  • Is full-time online learning an option for your child?
  • What characteristics and requirements should an online school have?
  • Would your child need a computer?
  • Would you need a subsidy to pay for Internet connection?

Parents can take the online learning survey through Friday, March 27.

APS distributes its surveys through several venues including APS.edu, school websites, social media, local media and its school-to-home communication system, SchoolMessenger.

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