The Peekskill Board of Education has adopted an instructional calendar for 2012-13 but the timing of parent-teacher conferences will be adjusted in response to concerns voiced during the board meeting Tuesday, June 19.
The calendar, as presented to the board by Joseph Mosey, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, listed two half-days for conferences right before the Thanksgiving recess and two more half-days during the first week of May. Board members and a resident said some families pulled their children out of school early for Thanksgiving travel while May was rather late in the school year for such meetings.
Mosey said the May conferences were scheduled because time was required to process the results of tests required in April, which in turn precluded conferences in that month. As for November, he suggested that scheduled conferences might encourage families to keep their children in class instead of leaving early.
Board member Douglas Glickert suggested having the spring conferences in March, before the testing period. Mosey said such a change was feasible, although the conferences would not coincide with the end of a marking period. “We can certainly tweak it,” he said.
Glickert also suggested that, instead of two half-days for conferences, the district consider one half-day with afternoon conferences followed by conferences that same evening.
Parents will be notified of the new conference times.
In a related matter, the board approved starting the school day an hour later at Woodside Elementary (pre-kindergarten through first grade), beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m. Mosey said the change was driven by bus scheduling and would save the district $160,000 while facilitating sharing of staff among the elementary schools.
Superintendent of Schools James Willis said a recent report indicated that a later start time was beneficial to students.
Resident Karen Wallis voiced concern during the hearing of citizens that the later school day would mean that youngsters participating in after-school activities would not get home until 5 p.m., “rather late” for children that age.