About two hundred Chittenden county parents, teachers, students and community members, came to the Burlington High School Wednesday night to discuss the proposal of a modified school calendar popularly known as the 2.0 vision calendar. The essence of the change is that calendar would redistribute break time into an eight and a half week summer and interspersed “intersessions” throughout the year. Milton Superintendent, John Barone, opened the session with a presentation about the process and proposal, and he addressed circulating misconceptions about the new calendar. Stressing, that the calendar was not a done deal, he declared it would not be implemented in the 2014-2015 school year.
The floor was then opened up to forum members so they could express their views. Forum speakers brought up the need for acclimatization of the buildings and the inherent costs, and expressed frustration that important questions were still unanswered about funding, intersession programs, and childcare opportunities. Many cited concerns that there was a need for a remodeling of education to include greater personalization, more engaged learning, and greater community and family connections, but were not sure the calendar was the answer. Partnership for Change Fellow, Amy Dickson, noted their passion for these changes would be very welcome on the Partnership ITeams. Although most comments were not in favor of the modified calendar, one community member who grew up in Germany commented they were accustomed to such a calendar and it was “awesome”. Student Henry Prine said although he felt “the calendar might be going in the right direction”, the process should reflect more student and teacher voice. Bill Keeton, a parent, hoped that the committee would continue to look at a wider array of alternatives to bring to the table.
All in all, the evening produced many opportunities for voices to be heard and the seven superintendents promised they would consider the comments as they move forward.