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Superintendent's News

Posted: December 2, 2022

Building a Calendar: A Message from Supt. Elder

In his weekly message, Superintendent Scott Elder goes through the steps the district takes to create school calendars.

APS employees are busy people. And busy people rely on calendars, including the Albuquerque Public Schools calendar.

We’re not alone. Our students, families, and neighbors build their schedules around the APS calendar. They need to know when the school year starts and ends, when schools or offices are closed for breaks and holidays, when grading periods end, and when families will be meeting with their student's teachers.

The district has a calendar committee that meets in the fall each year to plan for the next school year. You would think this would be an easy enough task, right? I mean, we’ve been putting together school calendars for as long as anyone can remember.

But there are a lot of factors to consider when developing the calendar, including making sure we have enough instructional days for students and that those days are balanced between semesters. We need to ensure we include professional development and planning time for teachers and staff. We need to consider summer school, athletics, and testing. We want a calendar that doesn’t disrupt the learning process, and that won’t exacerbate attendance issues.

We have to find a balance between tradition and innovation. 

In recent years, we have had to create a second, extended-year calendar as well, adding 10 instructional days as encouraged by the state. As of now, 29 elementary schools follow this calendar. 

The committee’s work isn’t easy, and I want to thank the members who aspire to balance the instructional needs of students with the desires of families, the community, and staff.

Once a calendar is drafted, we share it with the public. Over the past couple of weeks, the proposed 2023-2024 traditional and extended-year calendars have been shared with employees and families through the APS website, newsletters, and social media. We sincerely want to know how these proposed calendars will impact the lives of those we represent.

As of this writing, more than 1,700 people have shared their opinions. Their input will go back to the committee and be considered as the draft calendars are revised and then sent to the Board of Education.

A caveat: While the Board of Education is expected to vote on the 2023-2024 school calendars later this month, we expect more discussion over instructional days and hours during the upcoming session of the New Mexico Legislature. Depending on what lawmakers decide, we could be revising the calendar again in the spring. 

Why am I sharing this process with you? As much as we try to accommodate everyone in our vast, diverse community, some will inevitably be unhappy with our final product. Just as many people want to start the school year later as those who want to wrap up before Memorial Day. There are requests to align our calendars with those of other institutions. To make breaks longer. Or shorter. We hear from many people who don’t want to extend the school year. But then, some suggest a year-round school calendar.

The calendar committee, the administration, and the Board of Education will adopt a calendar that won’t please all but will hopefully best serve our students so that they can be successful. 

As with every task the district tackles, that has to be first and foremost in our decision-making.