Portland Public Schools will start 2018-19 on Aug. 27, eliminate the late starts and early releases that had become commonplace and replace 'no school November' with a week's vacation at Thanksgiving.

COURTESY: PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS - Beverly Cleary students headed back to school for the 2017-18 school year in August. They will likely do so again this year, according to the draft 2018-19 school calendar. Portland Public Schools released the draft of its calendar for the 2018-19 school year. The school year will again start before Labor Day and end on June 7, 2019.

Grade schoolers will go back to school Aug. 27, with kindergarten starting up Aug. 30.

In 2015, a petition had 2,688 signatories asking the district to start after Labor Day. The petition did not ultimately change the district calendar, and the practice was repeated up to last year.

The common complaint of "no school November" — a scattering of several no-school days in that month — will be replaced by a week's vacation at Thanksgiving for school families. Parent-teacher conferences will be held Nov. 19 and 20 of that week, so teachers will still be required to work those days.

Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero also ended the practice of regular late starts and early releases with this new calendar. School officials had used those for teacher planning periods and professional development time.

Next year, there will be 30 school staff meetings, which is actually fewer than this year and they will be shorter: 90 minutes instead of 120 minutes.

"There are fewer staff meetings but they're going to be better," PPS spokesman Dave Northfield said. Northfield said there was general agreement that teacher training could be done in the staff meetings. Teachers also have contracted 15 more minutes per day — 7 hours and 45 minutes instead of 7 hours and 30 minutes — and can use that time for preparation.

Four possible snow make-up days were set aside on the calendar. Monday, June 10 to Wednesday, June 13 could be added to the end of the year to make up for lost instruction. President's Day, Feb. 16, could also be used as a snow make-up day, provided the teacher's union is given 30 days notice.

The calendar is expected to be approved tomorrow evening, March 6, at the regular board meeting.

View the draft calendar.

Shasta Kearns Moore
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