LAUSD staff scraps plan to extend 2021-22 school year by two weeks

One day ahead of a board discussion on the issue, Los Angeles Unified School District officials have scrapped a proposal to extend the 2021-22 school year by as much as two weeks, citing a lack of support among teachers, administrators and other stakeholders.

According to a staff report released Monday ahead of Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, a survey conducted in late April found 75% of teachers and 62% of administrators calling for no change to the 2021-22 instructional calendar.

Given such lack of support for a change, staff will ask the board on Tuesday to approve a traditional 180-day instructional calendar for the coming school year. The proposed calendar would be “coupled with a needs-based funding formula that will give additional dollars to schools for the purpose of extending student instructional time and adding time for teacher professional development.”

The idea of extending the school year by up to two weeks was originally proposed as a way to help recover from learning loss during the current year, which saw students taking classes remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plans initially called for adding one week to the instructional calendar in August, and another in January. Superintendent Austin Beutner said the weeks would be split “between time for teachers and school staff to plan and participate in additional training and time for students to process the trauma and anxiety they’ve experienced the past year and work on learning fundamentals.”

According to the staff report, two proposals were eventually developed. One would add six additional student instructional days, along with four professional development days for teachers. The other would have three additional instructional days, and two optional professional development days. Both proposals, however, were rejected by the stakeholder groups.

The rejection came despite the district anticipating the receipt of about $400 million in additional funding from the state to provide “additional in-person academic, social-emotional and health supports” in the coming year.

Under the proposal going to the board Tuesday, the first day of instruction for the fall semester for most campuses would be Aug. 17, with the second semester beginning Jan. 10. Winter recess would be from Dec. 20 through Friday, Jan. 7. Spring recess would be April 11-15.

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