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School Trustee Pitches Idea To Make a Shortened School Longer

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Aired 3/30/10

A San Diego school board member wants to make a shortened school year longer by doing away with staff development time for teachers. John deBeck will pitch the idea at the board meeting on Tuesday.

— A San Diego school board member wants to make a shortened school year longer by doing away with staff development time for teachers. John deBeck will pitch the idea at the board meeting on Tuesday.

San Diego Unified's academic year is marked with a number of half-days every month. Kids leave school early so teachers can plan lessons, collaborate with colleagues and get professional development.

deBeck wants to turn those staff development hours into instructional days with kids in the classroom next year. He says turning teacher half-days into school days makes sense in a time of deep budget cuts.

“Kids have gone home and (teachers) are sitting there doing paperwork. I can't see that as helping students achieve,” de Beck said. “So the goal is to try and get at those days that the teachers are not working with kids, or part of the day that they're working with kids, and make them full instructional days.”

San Diego's school year is five days shorter due to furloughs. The teachers union will most likely criticize deBeck's idea, but he says many parents support the idea.

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