While many students and teachers enjoyed the week away from school for vacations and down time, some schools held Intersession, staying open for credit recovery, test prep and academic intervention.
Dr. Bryn Lapenta, senior director of student accounting for the WCSD, said Thursday 10 schools and more than 300 students took advantage of the intersession, which ended Oct. 18. Those who attended were immediately surveyed following the week's completion, and an online survey is now available for anyone in the community to complete.
"We tried to think of all the responses we could possibly get to make this survey," Lapenta said, explaining that the online form will branch off depending on answers to every question. "If they (the survey taker) did intersession, then we want to know how it went and why they did so. And if they did not, we want to know if it was because child care was too expensive or if they were out of town. We want to hear from everyone we possibly can in the community."
The survey begins by asking what level of school students are in and whether or not they attended intersession. Questions about enjoying or not enjoying the October break also comes as part of the survey. Lapenta said because the new calendar has a much different feel than the old, it is important for the WCSD Board of Trustees to know how the community is reacting.
"I went to the board with this survey plan in September and we will probably do another in December," Lapenta said. "We will likely look at another one in January. One of the interesting things to examine will be the semester ending Dec. 19 instead of in mid-January.
"We will be looking to see how many students earned their credits by finishing the semester before Winter Break. The data for that will go to the Board and they will decide how we should proceed from there."
The October intersession data will be presented to the Board of Trustees on Nov. 19.
The new balanced calendar remains in effect for the 2014-15 school year as well. Lapenta said if the survey results are not showing improvements or are showing problems in the community, it may cause a change in the calendar, but it will likely not be for quite some time.
"The rule is we have to have two calendar years in place at all times," she said. "If we were going to make a change to this calendar style, it may not even happen in the 2015-16 year because we will have to go back out to the community, hold town hall meetings and make sure we have a pulse for what the people want."
As far as intersession academic measures, Lapenta said it will be difficult to see if the extra time for deficient students makes a dent in the graduation rate. She said when intersession is used for state proficiency test prep, as was the case for many schools this month, the district may show more students passing the exams, which can be an indication that intersession is successful.
The survey is open to students, parents, staff, and community members and will be available through Nov. 4. The survey is available in English and Spanish at www.washoe.k12.nv.us.