After collecting feedback from parents and teachers, the Omaha Public Schools board on Monday approved a new calendar for the 2021-22 school year.
The new calendar pushes spring break from March 7 to 11 to March 14 to 18 and keeps May 27 as the end of the school year for students. Teachers will still be required to return after Memorial Day for a few days of work.
The calendar includes a staggered start. Elementary school students start Aug. 16, first-year middle and high school students start Aug. 17, and the remaining secondary students start Aug. 18.
The goal of the staggered start is to reduce the strain on key services such as transportation, according to the district.
The school board voted 9 to 0 to approve the new calendar.
The school district put out a survey seeking feedback on the proposed calendar and received 10,097 responses, with most coming from parents, teachers, school-based staff and students. Some community members responded, too.
Scott SchmidtBonne, director of research at OPS, said the responses showed that most parents and students felt that spring break was timed correctly, but district staff felt like the break was too early. SchmidtBonne said that by moving spring break by one week, but no more, the district hopes to satisfy staff without angering parents and students who liked the original timing of the break. OPS typically has spring break earlier than other metro area districts.
Teachers, students and school-based staff said in the survey that the school year ended too late. Some staff members are not happy about having to come back after Memorial Day. Parents and administrators thought that the school year ends at the right time.
SchmidtBonne said while disappointing teachers is difficult, district officials recommended that the school board stick with the original proposal for the end of the year.
He said district officials couldn’t come up with a better solution that wouldn’t potentially create other problems during the year that would result in a decision that teachers would like even less.
In the future, district officials will ask respondents to prioritize their selections for how the calendar is organized so the district can have a better understanding of what’s most important to staff, students and parents.
District officials received more feedback on this calendar than ever before, surpassing the previous record by more than 6,000 responses.