A survey put out by the Yukon government asks parents and community members their preferences on possible changes to the school calendar. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Got Yukon calendar concerns? Survey on school year calendar open to public

Community members can put in their two-cents regarding the school calendar until October 21

Parents and community members can participate in an online survey about possible changes to the school calendar.

The survey, which closes Oct. 21, is designed to gauge what would serve parents and teachers in the Yukon best when it comes to scheduling their children’s education, said Bob Walker, the school council liaison with the Department of Education.

The survey, which takes about ten minutes to complete, asks people to state preferences about when school starts and ends, when semesters break, how many school days there are and how long each school day is, and when holidays are taken.

“What features of the calendar would fit the community best… are holidays too long or too short?” Walker said.

In 2013, the school board moved from creating a year-by-year calendar to posting a three-year calendar, he said. With the end of that calendar and the advent of a new government, the school board is looking to move to a four-year calendar, which allows both parents, teachers and community organizations to plan better, he said.

“The new minister said ‘if three years was well received, why not go to a four-year calendar?’” Walker said.

The 2017-2018 school calendar is already in place, he said. The results of this survey will be used to help design the new four-year calendar, which will begin in the 2018-2019 school year.

“This provides us with better goal posts… and that helps us project a lot better, moving forward.”

Walker said that he hopes the four-year calendar also improves attendance. “We try to promote and build calendars which benefit both the community and teachers.”

“Setting calendar and school day lengths are just two parts of student learning,” he said. “Attendance is critical.”

While the calendar is being designed to meet community preferences, there are certain legislated guidelines to what a school year must look like. According to the Education Act, a full school year must have 950 hours of instruction, a full school day must be between 300 and 330 instructional minutes, winter break must be at least between Dec. 21 and Jan. 2 and all schools within a community must have the same school calendar.

“It’s about balancing what parents and communities need and what is required by legislation,” said Walker.

People interested in taking the survey can find it at www.gov.yk.ca/news/17-169.html.

Contact Lori Garrison at lori.garrison@yukon-news.com