LAUSD Adds Extra Week Of School Next Year, Hoping To Make Up For Lost Learning
The Los Angeles Unified School District will extend the upcoming 2022-23 school year by a week, setting aside time in which schools can choose to offer extra help to students at the greatest academic risk following the pandemic.
LAUSD administrators cannot mandate teachers to work more than the standard 180 days without renegotiating the district’s union contracts.
So while the school year will extend into the third week of June instead of only the second week, the new plan also sets aside four Wednesdays throughout the school year that will be “optional” for teachers.
Teachers could choose to use those days to take a breather and catch up on grading or lesson planning — but district leaders are hoping they’ll choose to show up and offer “additional academic instruction and support” to vulnerable students. LAUSD board members voted Tuesday to approve spending an extra $122 million to pay staff for extra time on these so-called “acceleration days.”
- First day of class: Monday, Aug. 15, 2022
- Extra days of class (optional): Oct. 19, Dec. 7, Mar. 15, Apr. 19
- Last day of class: Thursday, Jun. 15, 2023
- Click here to see the full calendar
LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho argued the students with the most to gain from these extra days have also lost the most ground during the last two years: children who are in foster care, experiencing homelessness, still not proficient in English or who have disabilities.
“Every single day outside of school … is a lost opportunity for them,” Carvalho said.
The district’s chief academic officer, Alison Yoshimoto-Towery, noted that each acceleration day was strategically placed — near the deadlines when teachers must report grades, at times when students could make up missing work and during the ramp-up to Advanced Placement tests.
School calendar votes are rarely easy; almost every feature of the instructional calendar is a point of potential conflict. The mid-August start date and the three-week winter break have both been flashpoints for prior squabbles on the board.
Regardless of the calendar they chose, many LAUSD parents simply needed district leaders to set a calendar so they could make their own plans for vacations and extracurricular activities in the coming year. This is the second straight year that LAUSD board members have procrastinated until late spring to approve a calendar for the following year.
Carvalho acknowledged that the additional instructional time would be of less use to students if LAUSD schools lacked a clear plan for how to make good use of the acceleration days. He promised the district would work with teachers to develop a plan to address “literacy, numeracy and credit recovery to ensure on-time graduation.”
Board members Scott Schmerelson and Nick Melvoin both noted that LAUSD leaders had not done much to proactively explain the plans for the coming year to parents, teachers or principals. Carvalho promised to engage these groups in the coming months.
But the new superintendent, still only two-and-a-half months into his tenure with LAUSD, also gave a forceful defense of his plan: “If not now, then when?” Carvalho challenged the board. “And if not this, then what?”
Carvalho’s presentation appeared to sway at least one skeptical board member, Jackie Goldberg, who urged the superintendent to report on whether the additional days had their intended effects on student learning.
“I’m willing to take a risk on it,” Goldberg said, “because I don’t have an alternative, and we’ve got to do something.”