Wednesday, September 20, 2017

KASB Calendar Survey Data – Changes from 2016-17 to 2017-18

KASB recently released the 2017 Annual Calendar Survey Report, where we describe the information from districts related to the 2017-18 school year and all school years back to 2001-02.  In it, we discuss trends across this period, but do not focus on the changes from last year to this year. 
In this post, we will talk about what has apparently changed since last year, and why these changes might have happened.

Note that the data being used for the annual report and for this post represents 97% of the districts for 2016-17, and 77% of the districts for 2017-18, so some of the differences could be due to the districts who have not responded yet for this year.

Here are some of the changes from last year to this year that are worth noting:

  • Days:  The data shows that from 2001-02 through 2016-17, the average number of student contact days decreased steadily from 177.4 to 167.5, but then increased to 168.2 in 2017-18.  This is the first year the student contact days have increased since 2005-06.  In addition, in-service days increased from 6.4 last year to 6.7 this year, which is the highest average number of days reported so far on this survey.
  • Duration: The data shows that from 2001-02 through 2016-17, the number of hours spent at school per day by both students and teachers has been steadily increasing, with teachers spending about 10 minutes more per day at school in 2016-17 than they did in 2001-02, and with students spending about 15 minutes more.  However, from 2016-17 to 2017-18, the average time spent at school has decreased one minute for both students and teachers. 
  • Kindergarten Formats: The percent of kindergarten programs that are all day, every day has been increasing since 2001-02, with 34% of schools reported with full day programs in 2001-02 compared to 88% in 2016-17.  However, the percent of schools reported with all day every day programs increased to 94% in 2017-18, which is a much larger increase in percent than has been seen in recent years. 

In previous reports, we have noted that the general trend in Kansas was that teachers were working fewer days per year, but those days were longer.  One possible explanation for this is districts’ needs to save money by decreasing teacher contract days, and another is that districts decreased teacher contract days in lieu of salary increases as part of the teacher contract negotiations process. 

If either or both of these explanations are true, then the change in trends for days and duration could be due to the additional money districts received for the 2017-18 school year after several years of flat funding.  Districts may be moving towards having more student contact days and more teacher in-service days while shortening the actual school days themselves because they have the flexibility to do that with the additional funding received. 

In terms of Kindergarten formats, at the state and national levels, it has for some time been the consensus that all day, every day kindergarten formats are preferable to half day every day programs, all day every other day programs, or even half day every other day programs.  However, the state has not made the commitment to fully fund all day every day kindergarten programs until this year.  The larger increase in the number of schools reported with all day every day kindergarten programs is likely due to the additional money districts received for the 2017-18 school year for kindergarten classrooms.

To read the full KASB 2017 Calendar Survey Annual Report, click here.

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