Six proposals OK’d by Kyrene schools and how they affect you

Editor’s note: The following represents a summary of recommendations approved by the Governing Board of the Kyrene School District at its March 8 meeting. The recommendations were based on preliminary results of a study conducted by teachers, parents, school and district staff members. The board’s decisions will affect Kyrene instructional programs starting with the 2005-06 academic year.


Overseen by a committee established last fall, the Kyrene School District’s K-8 Programming Study has been designed to enhance student achievement while offsetting some of the economic realities that have resulted from sharply reduced state and federal revenues.

Following a series of meetings, the committee’s members presented a variety of proposals to Dr. Maria Menconi, the district superintendent. Of those proposals, Menconi selected six to be submitted to the school board for action.

Other ideas presented to Menconi by the committee were returned for further study as the committee continues its sessions throughout the year.

Here is a breakdown of the approved proposals and how they will affect students, parents and the district:

Proposals and what they mean

Proposal: Allocation of instructional time to include district-wide consistent and defined standards

What it means: Elementary students will have similar learning opportunities in reading, math, science, social studies and writing. Uninterrupted instructional time will be a priority.

Middle school students will see an increase in instructional periods in core content areas.

Proposal: Elimination of February Staff Development Day.

What it means: The elimination of the February Staff Development Day--originally scheduled for February 10, 2006--will result in a minor change in the district’s school calendar for next year.

Proposal: Implementation of a district-wide Early Release Day on Wednesdays at all schools.

What this means: Beginning in the 2005-2006 school year, every Kyrene school will have the same early release day. The time will be available to teachers and school staff for preparation, training and professional development.

Proposal: Implementation of a 5-period instructional day in all middle schools.

What this means: The transition from an 8-period day to a 5-period day will result in the following changes:

Class periods will be 68 minutes long;

Students will see an increase in instructional time in science, social studies, math (for 7th and 8th graders) and language arts;

Spanish will move from a required course in 7th and 8th grades to a year-long elective course available to 6th, 7th and 8th graders;

Elective options of year-long courses will include Spanish, band, orchestra, physical education and chorus;

Semester-long elective courses will include art, theater, computer multi-media, family and consumer science;

A 20-minute Academic Lab homeroom will be added;

Students will have two elective options and will take those courses on alternate days;

Instructional time for certain elective courses (band, orchestra, physical education, chorus) will decrease by about 17 percent;

Instructional time for other elective courses (art, theater, computer multi media, family and consumer sciences) will increase;

Proposal: Implementation of a weighted index for administrative resource allocation.

What this means: A formula--which includes school enrollment, free and reduced lunch rates, and other factors--will be used in assigning full- and part-time assistant principal positions at elementary schools.

Proposal: Supervision of academic support programs by the Curriculum and Assessment Department.

What this means: The department will now supervise academic support programs, including media specialists, academic interventionists, literacy specialists and K-3 aides.

For additional information regarding the study and its processes, visit www.kyrene.org/k8psc.