Greencastle school calendar to include weeklong fall break

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Greencastle isn't ready to jump into the balanced calendar for schools just yet. For now, Greencastle Community Schools might just be dipping in a toe to test the temperature.

On the recommendation of Superintendent Lori Richmond, the Greencastle School Board approved a traditional calendar for the 2012-13 school year at Wednesday's monthly meeting.

The most prominent change is a one-week fall break that will give students and teachers Oct. 13-21 off school. The week lines up with the DePauw University fall break, potentially benefiting families with ties to both the university and Greencastle Schools.

The break also falls right at midterm, with nine weeks before and nine weeks after.

Other important dates of the school year include Aug. 8 and Jan. 7 as the first student day of each semester and May 22 as the last day of school.

Other dates include Thanksgiving break from Nov. 21-25, winter break from Dec. 22-Jan. 6 and spring break from March 23-31.

Greencastle High School graduation will be Friday, May 31 in 2013, giving the corporation five potential make-up snow days between the planned end of school and graduation. Friday, March 22 and Friday, May 10 are also make-up snow days in 2013.

Radical changes were a potential outcome when school administrators gave three calendar options to the staff members and families of the corporation. Richmond said most stakeholders supported the traditional calendar with fall break as the only major change.

"Though we are not going to a full balanced calendar, it was beneficial for us to know in the future," she said.

A balanced calendar calls for an earlier start date and potentially later end date of the year. Each of the four grading periods is separated by at least a two-week break, or about six weeks in the case of summer vacation.

"This does seem to give the appearance that we are moving toward the balanced calendar," board member Kelly Lewis said.

The changes will be a bit of an issue for Area 30 students, as the career center does not have the same calendar. Richmond said there are six days in which Greencastle does not align with Area 30.

In recent years, this number has been approximately four days.

In other business:

* The board granted liability payment authorization to Chief Financial Officer Clay Slaughter. This is a routine matter that simply authorizes the payment of routine bills without prior board approval. The arrangement is simply to avoid late fees.

* A possible board retreat is being discussed for April. A retreat is a public meeting, sometimes called for more extended discussions. In this case, Bill Tobin is a brand new member, and Mike White has served for less than a year, so it could be a good time to familiarize them with some of the issues facing the corporation.

* The board approved a number of personnel items, including the hires of Jayme Barber as human resources director, Jessica Denney as special services secretary, Amanda Jellison as Tzouanakis noon aide, Blaine Hagan as substitute noon aide at Deer Meadow and Ian Cornell and Cynthia Gamble as substitute teachers and the resignation of Missy Wright as Tzouanakis noon aide.

Extracurricular hires included Steve Paquin as GHS boys' golf coach, Sally Martin as GHS girls' tennis coach, Shane Thomas as GHS and GMS assistant wrestling coach, Rhonda Gottschalk as GHS girls' basketball volunteer lay coach; and Brenda Beller as GHS girls' tennis lay coach.

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  • The staff of GCSC was only shown two options, and had no input into the matter except to vote. Also, you will notice that there is no mention of having Dr. Martin Luther King day off or Presidents' Day but neither calendar option gave those days off. That's a long stretch in a trying time of the year for students and teachers not to have a break. I won't argue about Fall Break, though!

    -- Posted by teachingforourfuture on Sat, Feb 11, 2012, at 5:17 PM
  • teachingforourfuture,

    MLK day is the second Monday in January and Presidents day is at the end of February. Last time I checked both of those dates are within 2 months of Christmas break. How exactly does this qualify as a "trying" time? Go get a job where you actually work year round and then I might feel sorry for you not getting these days off

    -- Posted by hometownboy on Sat, Feb 11, 2012, at 11:17 PM
  • hometown boy,

    I am so sick of hearing that teachers don't work "year round" and how easy our job is. What exactly do you do hometown boy? Do you spend hours upon hours of your "off time" preparing for your job? Why don't you take a teacher's education level, time on job and pay scale and then compare it to ANYONE who has the same amount of education + time on job and see how subpar our pay is? Before you say "then get another job" I will tell you that most of us do NOT complain about our jobs and what we are paid. We LOVE our jobs and ADORE your children. People always make a big deal about what teachers "make" over the summer when we are "not working"...well, let me break it down for you: You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder, I make them question, I make them criticize. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them write, write, write. And then I make them read, read, read. I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face. How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best. Here, let me break it down for you hometown boy...Teachers make a difference! Now what about you? (thank you Taylor Mali!)

    Let the teacher bashing commence...

    -- Posted by ISUmom2012 on Wed, Feb 15, 2012, at 3:37 PM
  • ISUmom2012

    According to the BLS ( the minimum average teacher salary in the state of Indiana is $46,630 and the maximum average is $56,290. If we figure that school is in session for 185 days per year that translates into about 1,480 hours worked (185 Days * 8 Hours). This translates into an average teacher wage rate between $31.51 to $38.03 per hour. A typical worker works 2,080 hours per year (52 weeks * 40 hours). Taking the calculated range of teacher per hour wage and multiplying buy 2,080 hours gives an average annual salary between $65,530 and $79,110. This is the teacher's effective salary when comparing apples to apples. Also according to the BLS the average Indiana yearly salary is $39,020, which means that a teacher's actual salary when comparing full time work is between 1.7 and 2.0 times the average annual income in the state. Check the numbers for yourself but I find it hard to believe that anyone making 2X the state average income is being paid "sub-par". These numbers only account for direct compensation and do not take into account that teachers typically enjoy a much more generous benefit package (retirement, healthcare, etc) than other employees.

    No teacher bashing here just calling it like I see it. Teachers are very well compensated for their jobs (as shown above) and to suggest otherwise just doesn't hole any water.

    BTW, teachers don't have a corner on the market of making a difference, everybody who works makes a difference and for you to suggest that teachers are the only ones who make a difference is idiotic.

    -- Posted by hometownboy on Thu, Feb 16, 2012, at 12:42 PM
  • Homeboy is suggesting teachers only work 185 days for 8 hours each day. OK TEACHERS...your day begins at 7:30 and not one second before and then at 3:30 you are done.... punch that pretend time clock and walk out the grading, no lessons plans, no making those hundreds of copies, no mandatory meetings, no pancake suppers, no open houses, don't answer school related emails or take school related phone calls, no parent conferences, no staying after or coming in early to tutor.

    Hometownboy....Your "figures" don't come close to how much time a teacher really puts into a day/week/year to give his/her very best to educate our children. In the words of my GPS (your figures need)...recalculating.

    -- Posted by kbmom on Thu, Feb 16, 2012, at 6:25 PM
  • kbmomP,

    Your statement suggests that everyone but teachers only works 8 hours a day and then they just got home. If you notice my calculations also assume that regular workers only put in 40 hour weeks (IE 8 hr days) which is also not realistic for many professional jobs but is they only way to get a true back to back comparison. Teachers still get compensated fairly and quite frankly I get tired of them complaining that they don't. No one forced them to become teachers they became them knowing full well what the market was like. If you don't like it then perhaps you should consider a change in occupation.

    -- Posted by hometownboy on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 7:35 AM
  • kbmomP - ur my new best friend!

    hometown boy

    My statement was this: "Why don't you take a teacher's education level, time on job and pay scale and then compare it to ANYONE who has the same amount of education + time on job and see how subpar our pay is?" Nowhere in your "facts" do I see education level and time on job listed. When I see THAT, divided by what we actually do (obviously, you do not have an educator

    as a close friend or family member or you would never suggest we only work 180 days), then I will listen. I make $35,658 per year and will not even come CLOSE to your stated $46,630 until I have been in my position for 16 years. Everyone thinks that we just step in to a $50,000 a year job b/c the "median" salary is that. That is because most teachers have a masters or DOCTORATE which, after 10+ years on the job, they MAY be close to the $50 grand mark. NOW...SHOW ME a job where you have THAT much education and THAT much time served and you still make our salary. With all THAT said...I state again...I absolutely ADORE my work, my students and my fellow teachers. I was born to do this job, I have NEVER complained about our salary. MY complaint is with people like you who will forever bash the profession that has undoubtedly provided the most positive influence in you and your child's life. There is NO other profession like ours...NONE! If you feel we are all so undeserving of praise, please home school....please!!

    Until then, perhaps you should peruse the following:

    Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year. It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do -- babysit. We can get that for less than minimum wage.

    That's right. Let's give them $3 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan-- that equals 6 1/2 hours).

    Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day...maybe 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.

    However, remember they only work 180 days a year. I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

    LET'S SEE...That's $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on. My calculator needs new batteries.)

    What about those special education teachers and the ones with master's degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

    Wait a minute -- there's something wrong here. There sure is.

    The average teacher's salary (nationwide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student-- a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!)


    **I will now go and enjoy the last few minutes of my 30 minute lunch break. I don't know WHO gets the aforementioned 45 minutes!

    -- Posted by ISUmom2012 on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 12:12 PM
  • ISUmom2012,

    Once again unless you are suggesting that the BLS statistics are incorrect (a suggestion that I would hope you'd be able to back up with facts) my average teacher salary reported is correct. Once again looking at BLS data if you use my calculated full year salary for a teacher you would find that the following professions make in the same range as a teacher: Aerospace Engineers, Software Developers, Computer Engineers, Materials Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Civil Engineers, Electrical Engineers, and Industrial Engineers. All of those professions require at MINIMUM a Bachelors and many would require a Masters for career advancement. Also as I said before, teachers are NOT the only profession who are expected to work unpaid overtime. I work many 60 hour work weeks and only get paid for 40, it is the nature of being a salaried employee, so my calculations are correct in that it accounts for the minimum amount of hours for both teacher and non-teacher professionals which is a true back to back comparison.

    As far as your argument that you don't see anywhere near the reported average perhaps you should look up the definition of average. Obviously some teachers are going to get paid more due to a variety of factors (experience, urban vs. rural school, private vs. public school). If you've got some more reliable data than the BLS (good luck finding it) I'd be more than happy to re-run my calculations but I'm going to guess that the BLS data which has over 75,000 data points is a little more accurate than the one data point of your salary.

    I'm not sure where to begin on your math for babysitting. First just because you may pay ~$20 / day for daycare doesn't mean that the worker is seeing anywhere near that amount in salary. The daycare has to account for overhead (snacks for the kids, licenses, supplies, electricity, etc). Once again using the BLS the average child care provider in Indiana has a salary of $19,160 (Childcare Providers) which is significantly less than your "calculated" number. Perhaps you should try actually doing some research (like I did) rather than making unsubstantiated claims.

    Additionally, I have a far more influential job in shaping the lives of young people because I am a PARENT. My PARENTS and GRANDPARENTS were far more influential in my life growing up than any of my teachers. I'm not saying that my teachers didn't influence my life, many did, but they were most assuredly NOT the ones who constantly complained about how they were underpaid and underappreciated like you are doing here. I'm not trying to bash teachers in general here just the ones who act like they are martyrs for getting fairly compensated for their jobs. The numbers above back that up.

    -- Posted by hometownboy on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 2:26 PM
  • Hometownboy - please know that this will be the last time I address ur adulterated attack on my profession.

    "Math for babysitting" = tongue-in-cheek blog that has been posted many times over and which many teachers have been given as a source of humor/empathy from parents who support us and all we do for their child.

    ELS data may be what you can cite as your source. I am simply citing basic Indiana teacher pay scale. Cite away brother....I don't have the time nor do I care to argue with your copy/paste abilities.

    Finally, last time I checked parents/grandparents do not fall under the classification of an influential profession. Maybe you should check ELS because I may be wrong, but I don't think I am. I do feel sorry for you in the fact that you and your children had such horrible public education experiences...that in at least 12 years of life there was not ONE SINGLE teacher who made an impact. I can't even BEGIN to imagine what my life would have been like had I never known a Mrs. Knoy, Mr. Henson, Mrs. McCammon, Mrs. Wagner, Mr. Kiley, Mr. Tucker, Mr. Ison, Mr. Faulkner, Ms. Buck, Mrs. goodness...the list is endless. These men and women totally had a hand in shaping who I am today. To suggest that current teachers are not doing the same for this generation is almost blasphemous. I will say it for the LAST time, although I know it is just dead air to those who teacher bash - I am NOT complaining about pay/hours/appreciation/pats on the back (I have personally won many awards for my teaching, but they PALE in comparison to the hugs I receive daily from my poverty stricken students who come in my door with torn clothes and hungry eyes looking to ME for love & guidance!)I AM complaining about the small, vocal minority of people such as yourself, who will NEVER understand the kind of person it takes to be a good teacher. If you DID you would never take the stance that you do.

    -- Posted by ISUmom2012 on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 3:30 PM
  • ISUmom2012,

    Really, parents and grandparents aren't influential? THEY ARE THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BY FAR OF ANYONE INVOLVED IN A CHILDS LIFE. I would think that as a teacher you would know this as you would see first hand the difference a caring and involved parent can make in a child. Also, had you actually READ my post you would have seen that I did NOT say that teachers had no influence in my life but that my PARENTS and GRANDPARENTS had a far greater effect than teachers. And YES PARENTING IS A JOB to suggest otherwise is insulting to parents everywhere.

    -- Posted by hometownboy on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 4:33 PM
  • If we look at the state average income as our basis of wage comparison, then it would be fair to point out that the level of education those averages are based on (particularly in Indiana) is far lower than what is required for teachers. In addition to minimum requirements to enter the profession, many teachers hold advanced degrees and hours beyond that which is necessary for employment. The distinction is important. Most teachers have far more education than the average worker upon which the BLS statistics cited are based.

    I have held three professional positions in my working career, the last, and current, as an elementary teacher. In my mind, comparing teaching with other occupations is impossible. Teaching well is by far the most difficult, time consuming, overwhelming and awe inspiring profession imaginable. Counting days and hours misses the point entirely. Most of us who are lucky enough to be called to teaching desire only the admiration of our students, the respect of our parents, and the professional courtesy of our administrators and the legislators who guide their hands.

    The current climate of finger pointing and teacher bashing says far more about the dismal state of our overall economy and lower standing in the world economy than it does about teachers. We, the people of the United States, went to bed one night and the next day we woke up to a new world, thanks to the digital revolution. We are now connected and collaborating and competing with every single other person and economy in the world and we better be ready. Bash away worried well, and get defensive insecure educators, but if you do, you are missing the point, and wasting our kids' precious time.

    -- Posted by thinkpositive on Sun, Feb 19, 2012, at 10:39 AM
  • thinkpositive,

    yes the average includes some jobs which require less education but it also includes many jobs which require significantly more education than teaching. That is also why I compared my calculated annual teacher salary to other professions. That shows that teachers earn around the same amount as many engineers and computer scientists which require around the same amount of education as teaching. This analysis shows that teachers are fairly compensated for their work. Also, can teachers PLEASE stop acting like their job is the hardest in the history of the world. Every job offers its own set of challenges. I can admit that I could not deal with some of the challenges faced by teachers but I know that teachers would also not be able to deal with many of the challenges that I face on a daily basis in my career. It is the attitude of many teachers (especially in these comments) that their profession is somehow superior to all others that irritates me.

    -- Posted by hometownboy on Mon, Feb 20, 2012, at 10:35 AM
  • Hometownboy, You kind of started this with your jab at the first poster about not having a year round job. And I think this is because you misinterpreted what the poster had said anyway....

    And then further down you also misinterpreted another post about granparents being influential. The poster specifically said, an influential profession.

    Of course family is influential, but not as a profession, Pretty sure teachers do have the corner on that market.

    I for one would love to see teacher's compensated better than what they are, after all. It isn't daycare...they fill in the gaps while we are at work, and alot of parents leave everything up to the teachers. Not just math, science, and what not. But morals, good judgment, social skills. Things most people take for granted. And lets not forget. If you have such a problem with them, you can always home school your child, assuming you meet the criteria to do so.

    I completely agree that teachers are underpaid for the amount of work they put into it. But I don't feel the law of averages works out correctly for them. I think the average salary may be accurate BUT, they probably need to narrow the gap between entry level pay and whatever the cap is. If the average is near 50,000 a year and the entry level is 32,000...that is an awfully large gap, Considering there really isn't room to "move up the ladder" in that position. They will continue to do the same thing and receive increases in pay.

    It is pretty much an all or nothing type career. and yes they chose it, and without them the world would be much worse off than it is.

    That being said.

    I personally believe teachers should be paid by performance. That way the good teachers get what they deserve and the bad ones as well. Maybe a base salary with extra compensation based on test results or average GPA or something.

    -- Posted by J_Mason on Tue, Feb 21, 2012, at 12:23 PM
  • J_Mason,

    My point in the first post was that suggesting that those holidays were "trying" times for teachers and students when they are within a month of a 2+ week break for Christmas is ridiculous. I do agree with you regarding pay for performance but would take it a step further and also eliminate tenure entirely. This would make it far more easy to get rid of underperforming teachers and eliminate the horrible practice of first in first out firing practices which only end up hurting the teaching profession by making it impossible for young teachers to get experience. Also would like to see school vouchers made available more easily so teachers and school systems are required to compete for my tax dollars rather than have a monoply on education. Gov Daniels has done some great things along many of these lines but in my opinion more work still needs to be accomplished.

    -- Posted by hometownboy on Tue, Feb 21, 2012, at 2:17 PM
  • HTB....since you are so "up on education", why wouldn't you know the "pay for performance" is being put into place at this very moment?

    -- Posted by kbmom on Thu, Feb 23, 2012, at 6:28 AM
  • kbmomP,

    Firstly, not sure why you put up on education in quotes as my post never actually says that. Also, I am aware that pay for performance is being implemented. Had you actually READ my post you would have seen that I was advocating taking Gov Daniels reforms (IE: pay for performance) further and implementing other needed reforms (school vouchers, ending tenure, etc). Also, one I forgot to mention was ending teachers unions which is about the only way you're going to be able to get rid of tenure. If you'd like to comment on those proposals rather than misrepresent my comments then I'd be more than willling to have that discussion.

    P.S. My previous post should have read "last in first out firing practices" instead of "first in first out firing practices".

    -- Posted by hometownboy on Thu, Feb 23, 2012, at 3:50 PM
  • I just want to see if this post will cause another "gotta have the last word" post...just a little experiment that I'm conducting on aaaalllll my down time.... ;)

    -- Posted by ISUmom2012 on Mon, Feb 27, 2012, at 12:25 PM
  • HTB I would agree that it is close to x-mas break but the time between x-mas break and the spring break is a long stretch without a scheduled break. And those 2 holidays would at least put something in there, I think there isn't much else to shoot for in that stretch for a day or two of breaks for them. Probably why she brought those 2 up in the first place, however, I've noticed that they seem to get those days off anyway if they have unused snow days, or am I wrong?

    -- Posted by J_Mason on Tue, Feb 28, 2012, at 11:33 AM
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