Hinojosa calendar approved
by Lindsay Field
October 26, 2012 02:10 AM | 9190 views | 51 51 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa <br> File photo
Cobb superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa
File photo
slideshow

MARIETTA — After three committee meetings in August and numerous conversations with the school district staff and community members, the Cobb County school board approved Superintendent Michael Hinojosa’s calendar recommendationfor the 2013-14 school year.

The board also gave Hinojosa the green light to apply for a $20 million Race to the Top grant.

Hinojosa’s calendar recommendation, which included an amendment outlining when furlough days would be used, was approved 4-2, with members David Banks and Lynnda Eagle opposed.

The superintendent’s one-year calendar starts the school year on Aug. 7, 2013, and ends it on May 21, 2014. It includes a two-day break Oct. 7-8, 2013, a weeklong break for Thanksgiving, a two-week break for the winter holidays, a Jan. 20, 2014, holiday and a weeklong spring break the first week of April 2014.

“I don’t really care what calendar we have,” Hinojosa said when explaining his rationale behind the recommendation. “My idea was trying to get these very divergent thoughts, which people are very passionate and emotional about, and try to get back to you the board.

“There is not going to be a unanimous support for anything that anyone recommends. … I just ask you to decide so that we can move on.”

Alison Bartlett, who represents west-central Cobb, made the motion that the board approve his calendar with an amendment to use any furlough days proposed in the future during the October break or to push the school start date even further back.

Her amendment was approved 4-2, with Eagle and Banks opposed.

Bartlett said that whatever calendar was approved by the board Thursday night, she would be in full support of and would not try to change if re-elected in November.

Banks, who represents northeast Cobb, made a motion to modify Hinojosa’s suggestion to include weeklong breaks in September and February, but that was voted down 1-4, with Bartlett, Kathleen Angelucci, Tim Stultz and Board chair Scott Sweeney opposed and Eagle abstaining.

At the close of the hour-long discussion, Eagle made a brief statement about why she opposed Bartlett’s amendment and motion.

“I really wanted to be a team player, and I was prepared to vote for the superintendent’s calendar, but I feel like with all of those amendments and all of those changes, I could not do that,” she said.

A handful of Cobb Schools parents, all of whom served on the 21-member calendar committee, addressed the board during public comments at the start of the board meeting.

Lisa Miller, who was appointed by the Jessye Coleman Council in south Cobb, said “frequent breaks” were the group’s priority.

“Mr. Hinojosa disregarded the important factors in our calendar in which we presented to him, which were the breaks,” she said. “The committee did not come to a conclusion that a day was a break, and I do not feel that his calendar was a compromise.”

Rob Stanek, a member of the same Parent-Teacher Association, echoed Miller’s statements.

“I’m pretty frustrated with the end result (of the committee) because my understanding of what Dr. Hinojosa has proposed to you guys is not what the calendar committee actually consented to do,” he said. “I don’t consider a single day in the fall and a single day in the winter to actually be a break. That kind of really violated the priorities of the committee.”

He said the weeklong breaks were at the request of teachers, which in turn create “happy parents” and “happy students.”

However, Sarah Regitz, who was appointed to the committee by the East Cobb Council, said she didn’t have a problem with Hinojosa’s recommendation.

“Had the committee been able to develop a year-long calendar, I believe it would have looked much like the superintendent’s proposal,” she said. “Approval by the majority on the calendar is something I think we should look at in moving forward.”

In other business, the board approved Hinojosa’s recommendation to submit a Race to the Top grant application to the U.S. Department of Education, which is due by 4 p.m. Tuesday.

It passed 4-2 with Bartlett and Angelucci opposed. Both have previously said they are uncomfortable with any federal mandates that might be required by the grant and sustaining any implemented programs after the four years of funding runs out.

If Cobb wins the grant, which Chief Academic Officer Dr. Judi Jones is calling R.E.A.C.H., for rigor, excellence, attitude, challenge and hope, the money would be used at Griffin, Floyd, Lindley Sixth Grade and Lindley middle schools.

It would pay for professional development for teachers and administrators as well as for projects to improve students’ transitions into and out of middle school. The school day could also be restructured and individual graduation plans developed.

Cobb is competing against 222 other districts in their category and 900 overall for a portion of the $400 million grant, which is expected to be awarded to up to 25 districts, which will be notified by Dec. 31.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Hinojosa calendar approved

Comments
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Roger Hamilton
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November 26, 2012
Mr Taylor...I feel sorry for you that you have been wronged. The teachers at my daughter's school have been nothing but kind and generous to my circle of friends with kids in their school. The teachers are very energetic and challenge our children. Mind you, some of my daughter's teachers are no longer "Spring Chickens" if you will. Please do not pre-judge all teachers as lazy and un-caring clock watchers. That is just a misconcenption made on your part. You are not in every school, unless of course you ARE the Superintendent.

As far as the new schedule, I can probably do without it. I was in favor of the previous schedule that included the week long breaks. These breaks were not to give the lazy teachers a break, but to give everyone in the learning community a bit of time to re-engergize themselves. I know that my daughter really enjoyed her breaks to recharge her batteries periodically.

Just my two cents.
anonymous
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October 27, 2012
I've always appreciated and respected the job my children's teachers have done - until two weeks ago.One of our children is having trouble in school, and during our conference, all the teachers did was complain about how busy they were and make snide comments. One of them literally said, "despite what everybody thinks, we're not sitting around with time on our hands! WE'RE BUSY"!!!!!! It was so unprofessional. Then, they proceeded to admit that they haven't been doing their jobs, Pinnacle was not updated, papers and work were ungraded for weeks, and went on to tell us that is how it's going to be going forward. They complained about the calendar, they griped about the superintendent and school board. I walked in prepared to work with them, but walked out with them having completely taken away my ability to respect them and was quite offended. If my post makes any teachers who read it uncomfortable, sobeit. YOU make me uncomfortable in the knowledge that my children are in your charge. We don't promote whining and complaining in our home and would expect the same example from the adults. I've been in plenty of private sector situations where the people who were slackers or grumblers were the first ones out the door when there was workforce reduction. The attitude in the private sector is that if you want more time off, we'll give it to you. It should be the same way with educators. There are plenty of young college graduates with education degrees eager to work. Let's bring in the ones who want to be there and kick out the ones who don't.
INCORRECT2
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October 26, 2012
Concerned Heather...

Please check your facts. R.L. Osborne H.S. has a phenomenal new administarive force and it presently is NOT a failing or low performing school. It was NOT placed on any negative list this year. The attendance rate has increased hugely thanks to a new administrator as has test scores in EVERY area increased due to excellent teachers and principal, Joshua Morreale. Stop perpetauting negative news about the schools on the southern part of the county. It is a school in transition and the change is to the positive.
EXHAUSTED
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October 26, 2012
As educators, we are EXHAUSTED!!! The students are exhausted also. They are skipping clases and attendance is horendous. The calendar issue can not be put aside as a topic because children are at stake and those that spend more that eight hours a day--the educators--- MUST have a voice. Why is Cobb stuck on not looking at the data?: Balanced Calendar: 1. saving funds on school maintenance transporation/ lunches/heating/air/electrical etc, when a school is closed.

2. teacher absenteesim decreases

3. student absenteesim decreases

4. better frame of mind

5. improved test scores

Are we scheduling around sports? Are we scheduling around testing? What? Why is it that the data of Cherokee, Bartow Counties and other counties are higher than Cobb and they have a balanced calendar?
@EXHAUSTED
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October 29, 2012
Judi Jones acknowledged that student attendance was up last year on the traditional calendar.

Very perplexed - Please explain how a balanced calendar saves on Lunches! Maintenance!

In case you missed it, scores were also up last year over the balanced calendar year.

Being an educator, one might suppose you would know the inherent flaws comparing disparate populations. Saying Cherokee's/Bartow's data is higher than Cobb's is like saying Cobb's bands are better because we have more students in the program.

In spite of what you stubbornly choose to believe, the calendar has nothing to do with academic achievement.
anonymous
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October 30, 2012
If it's such an imposition to care and be in charge of our precious children, please QUIT!!!! We don't need or want your type.
EastCobbMom
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October 26, 2012
Glad we are done with this calendar issue although I wish the approved start date was on Aug 12. That being said, maybe CCSB can now focus on the issue of over-crowded classrooms -- something that directly correlates to student performance.
ECP
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October 26, 2012
I wonder how the vote would have turned out if everyone who thought, and thinks, that the Board and Superintendent wasted the committee's time were to stand up and say they will vote no on SPLOST.
Timus
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October 26, 2012
One side or the other is not going to be happy either way. I think this calendar is as close to meeting in the middle as we are gonna get.
Just Sayin....
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October 26, 2012
Put the schedule behind us already!!! This is not what I wanted, but I really do not care, just make a decision and stick with it. As for Eagle abstaining on the vote...it was her final snub to Bartlett before the election. What a class act. So glad she is gone soon.
Nice Shoes
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October 26, 2012
Agreed. Eagle's comments were stupid.

Of all the board members I traded emails with regarding the calendar - she was the only one who wrote just plain rude and ignorant comments back - sniping at AB.
necobbmom
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October 28, 2012
Agree, Eagle is an embarassement to CCSD as is her cohort in crime Banks. Funny how they always vote together... I also have received angry, rude, and juvenille emails from her. If the public even knew half of what she has done they would be dismayed, and appalled... that is apparently one reason she didn't run for school board again.
Just sayin....
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October 29, 2012
Necobbmom.... I totally agree. If you watch last weeks school board meeting, Eagle actually used her time to publicly spank Ms. Bartlett for floating a schedule option. What a waste of taxpayer money. Perhaps I would feel better if she just stuck to teaching yoga or whatever it is she does when she can't show up for a school board meeting.
Later start day
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October 26, 2012
Why doesn't every school system in Georgia start and end on the same day? Surely, a state legislator can pass a law and have the state department of education set the calendar. Local control my foot, the local board is incompetent!
Darryl Wilson
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October 26, 2012
I believe.

Accountability is the key, so the Superintendent will be held accountable. Transparency was asked for, so the Superintendent should be able to explain in detail (his staff will) which schools will receive funding and why.

There are two primary thoughts regarding the largest uses of our state tax dollars (education) and they are student achievement and the rest of the money. Accountability by NCLB or RT3..or other alphabet soup really doesn't matter unless we take a look back at the last 10 years of graduates and non-graduates and evaluate their life performance and happiness now.

Do they contribute or take from society? Are they happy in their work? Are they leaders? Do they bring innovation and industry to our state and our nation? What is their social impact on their neighbors and friends?

We should embark on a community study.. using volunteers.. and have a "real world" assessment on the many different pathways that we have outlined for our state education system.

The state of the county report on education should report on that.
Joe Fleming
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October 26, 2012
The WORST part of the current calendar is the week in the fall and the week in the spring when - for parent-teacher conferences - each week is half-day of school. An elementary school student arrives at 7:45 a.m. and leaves before 12:30 p.m. I don't know how a single parent much less a two-parent family copes. Must have very, very generous employers!
Absolutely True
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October 26, 2012
Totally agreed, it as an absolute waste of student/teacher time, funds for gas on the bus, etc. In the old days, a couple of evenings were set aside for conferences, and all was fine.

Another example of teacher's unions destroying education.

There is sooooo much wasted time in schools today - conferences, numerous charity promotions, multiple field days, birthday parties, market days , etc etc etc
Response to AT
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October 26, 2012
THERE ARE NO TEACHER'S UNIONS IN GEORGIA!!!!! The conference week schedule was set up by CCSD bigwigs and adopted by the Cobb County Board members.
Samuel Adams
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October 26, 2012
To readers and posters: just watch what happens when word gets around that there's a calendar article in the MDJ today. Because of course most of these people for the balanced calendar don't read newspapers, they aren't posting right away...they must get word on Facebook.

Then just laugh at all their comments. Because they'll never let it go. Never.
@samuel
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October 26, 2012
You are probably right. The way they act (pushing for more breaks, off-season breaks, etc.) you would think they were a crazy clan of relaxation therapists, disney travel agents, hotel employees, and people who live near Cherokee border (jealous of the cheap travel vacations they get in off-season).
Jill Baker
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October 26, 2012
Samuel - I am for the balanced calendar and I read two newspapers cover to cover each day. Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I am stupid. Guess that makes you stupid.
Samuel Adams
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October 26, 2012
Dear dear girl, I never said you were "stupid."

Honestly, it was YOU who called people who don't read papers "stupid." Not me.

And I don't laugh at BC people's comments because they are "stupid" -- that was your assumption. My problem with BC advocates is that they are largely ignorant of the history of the issue (because they rarely read the paper or just started paying attention last year) but mostly because they will continue to raise cain until they get their way.
Concerned heather
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October 26, 2012
So Cobb is going to apply for government money, which they stated they would not do, and then only use the money for 4 schools? Why those schools? How about using the money for low performing schools such as Osborne? I just don't get the thinking but then again, with this board, I never do.
anonymous
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October 26, 2012
Lindley is a low performing school
EducateYourSelf
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October 26, 2012
See the agenda item on the District's website - Eleven middle schools will be included in the grant.
Watcher...
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October 26, 2012
OK, Hinojosa now has his Calendar!

Cobb Taxpayers MUST now demand great testing improvement!

How else can we evaluate Hinojosa and the CCSD Board?
Chip Lajeunesse
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October 26, 2012
I believe it is the students who take the tests, not Dr. Hinojosa.
anonymous
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October 26, 2012
Contrary to what balanced calendar supporters spoon feed this community, the calendar has no effect on academic achievement!
Watcher...
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October 26, 2012
I believe that Hiojosa's prime responsibility is to raise scores.

Just Wait
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October 26, 2012
The school calendar should be decided by non-parent, non-educators. Take the emotions out of the equation and do what is needed to properly educate the students.
TeacherInCobb
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October 26, 2012
Simply un-friggin'-believable.
anonymous
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October 26, 2012
Are you on a break teacher? Or commenting during taxpayer funded time?
Always Amazed
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October 26, 2012
...at the number of whining teachers who simultaneously complain about how miserable their existence is and how they have no time....

find time during the school day to whine on blogs

IceDogg
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October 26, 2012
Well, if Banks opposed it, I like it.
Point!
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October 26, 2012
Word!
Cobb Parent
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October 26, 2012
So they form committees to address the calendar, and for what?

The Superintendent just did what he wanted and appears to have NOT taken a thing from those committees into consideration.

He should apologize to those committee folks for just wasting their time.
Committee Should
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October 26, 2012
Apologize

For wasting the community's time with the stupid self-determined primary goal of "increasing breaks". Absurd

Many thanks to the committee members who spoke up against the nonsense and helped derail the train.
necobbmom
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October 26, 2012
Funny how Sweeny who was originally against RTTT has changed his tune. CCSD will be sorry they went there with RTTT. Talk about dumbing down our schools, and being held responsible for holding the purse strings. And where was David Morgan? I guess stumping for the Charter Schools Ammendment to pass so he can reap the rewards. Talk about a conflict of interest.
Jeff A. Taylor
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October 26, 2012
It is not sked I'd pick -- I'd start and end a week later -- but lets move on.

This constant whining from some teachers about needing a week off every few weeks to grade papers and otherwise do their jobs is just sad.

Kids and parents can tell within a couple weeks which teachers are excited and motivated and which ones are slackers and clock-watchers. You are not fooling anyone.

Hinojosa is right about this -- it just does not matter that much what the cal might be. Just work it.
Concurrence
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October 26, 2012
Double Word!
anonymous
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October 26, 2012
Just had an interview with a teacher this week. She never smiled once. It was obvious she hates her job and wished she was somewhere else.

Why are these teachers still teaching? Other than Obama's terrible economy, shouldn't these burned out types be able to see that they aren't inspiring to anyone? Either put your all into it, or GET OUT of the profession. The answer is NOT to put more breaks into the calendar, thinking it will somehow get you through a job you hate. The answer is, weed out those teachers who are not suited for the real work of teaching our kids to an acceptable level.

All of our other teachers over the years have been happy with their jobs, or if not sure hid it well. A select few should be given bonuses on par with top execs. As Jeff says, we can tell which type of teacher you are, usually by October. So let's get on with it. And be honest with yourselves teachers.
Taylor hater
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October 26, 2012
You post all the time about the laziness of teachers. Ever spent a day in a classroom? Ever looked into the amount of paperwork teachers have to complete, or the amount of meetings teachers have to attend, or the number of times teachers must deal with parents? It can't be fir into the amount of time we're paid to be here. We work late, we work on off time. I like the balanced calendar, not for me as much as I do the kids. They're more focused, their work is better and the behavior is better. Look into it. Posting like you know what's going on makes you look moronic.

I'm not grading on my time off, I'm spending it with my family. I come back refreshed, just like the kids. I'm interested at what you do for a living. I'm also interested at which school/teacher did you so wrong that you're so bitter.

What gets me about this calendar fiasco is the county asked, the response was clear. They went against it. He forms a committee and then disregards what they say. Bartlett rails against the balanced, then makes her own. It's funny how Hinojosa comes up with this which is just what the majority of the board wants (doesn't he come up for renewal soon?). It's funny how Bartlett develops a balanced calendar now (isn't there a re-election bid soon?).
Smyrna Mom
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October 26, 2012
Jeff,

Your comments about whining teachers comes off as ill-informed and insulting.

I substitute teach at my children's school, and on the days that I sub, I come home exhausted. And I don't have lesson plans to do or papers to grade. Trying to educate a class of over 20 kids while maintaining control, getting them to lunch on time, and making sure they all get to the right place when school is over is a huge responsibility.

My sister teaches in a high school in another district. She regularly puts in 60-70 hour weeks, just to grade all the papers and carefully plan her lessons. Her district recently got rid of their fall breaks, and she, along with her fellow teachers and the students, are exhausted.

I have never felt that any of my kids' teachers are slackers or clock-watchers. Some of them have even gone way above and beyond, taking courses over the summer that weren't required, just so they could help one child with special needs in their class.

I think just the fact that teachers, despite their workloads and constant criticism from people like you, continue to do what they do says an immense amount about their dedication.
Congratulations to u
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October 26, 2012
Taylor Hater, for being able to find time during the school day to rant and whine on blogs.

Jeff A. Taylor
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October 26, 2012
Hater - Given your complaints, what DO you like about teaching?

And there are absolutely no meaningful metrics which prove that regular breaks provide lasting benefit to -- wait for it -- The Children.

As it is the Aug. 7 date is incredibly early, nuking all manner of enriching summer activities for kids. But so long as we are done by Memorial Day, I'll deal. I suggest you do the same.

As for my motivations -- the fallacy argumentum ad hominem I here stoop to conquer -- I have several educators in my family and have always taken a keen interest in the efficacy of our public institutions. What has struck me about the overall very good Cobb system is the fixation by teachers and staff on the most exiguous details imaginable in the midst of a bounty of resources and high-quality raw material.

Sayre's Law immediately suggests itself -- In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the stakes at issue, that is why academic politics are so bitter -- but so do other axioms.

Although my experience suggests Cobb teachers individually range from adequate to outstanding, a collective madness seems to sometimes erupt when district-wide issues come up. Which suggests Nietzsche -- Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.

But most of all Bum Phillips, who said of Bear Bryant: "He can take his'n and beat your'n and take your'n and beat his'n."

Take what you got -- and win.
ECP
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October 26, 2012
You're right. It does not matter which calendar is used. What is disappointing is how the Superintendent and Board wasted peoples' time, time they were willing to give up to make adifference. The Board made a mockery of the committee. That is what is wrong. Stop blaming teachers. It is parents, teachers, in fact most of the community, that was hoping the committee's voice could be heard.
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