Dr. Michael Lovett, Superintendent of Schools
Office of the Superintendent
District Center, Room 204
4855 Bloom Avenue
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
(651) 407-7563 - office
(651) 407-7566 - fax
Dr. Lovett's Bio
How We Use Time
This month our School Board approved school calendars for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. Our process for developing a school calendar is a long one, beginning early last fall, seeking suggestions and priorities from staff and parents. The proposed calendar was presented to the School Board in public meetings twice in February and was posted online. Based on additional feedback from staff and parents, minor changes were included in the calendar approved this month.
Our local preferences need to fit into the parameters set forth by state law. For example, by legislative mandate, school classes may not begin in the fall until after Labor Day, except as permitted by a few exceptions listed in statutes.
What is different for 2017-18? Many of you may initially focus on the length of the winter holiday break, the placement of spring break, and whether the calendar will allow flexibility for travel before Thanksgiving.
The 2017-18 calendar also continues a "Welcome Back" elementary school parent-teacher conference just before school begins. We first piloted this "extra conference" last fall. Feedback from staff and parents was overwhelmingly positive.
For 2017-18, we have made some minor changes in the time and format of these conferences based on feedback. All elementary schools families will continue to have the opportunity for three parent conferences, one just before school begins for the year, another before Thanksgiving, and a third in the spring. These meetings are an important time for us to make sure we are communicating well, listening to parents, and addressing the learning and support needs for every child.
Beginning with 2017-18, we have also added some time during the year for our teachers to work closely together to understand the progress that each student is making, and determine how we can improve our instructional strategies and practices mid-year.
For some students this will be seen as a "day off," but teachers and administrators will be hard at work. Building this time into the schedule will mean fewer days when teachers are out of the classroom for professional development, collaboration, and planning. That means fewer times that students ask their teachers, "Where were you yesterday?"
Our best wishes to all our staff, students and families for a wonderful spring break. We look forward to seeing you again on Monday, March 20!
Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D
Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools
See the Superintendent's Message Archive here