APS announces proposed calendar for next school year

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — On Thursday, tens of thousands of families across the Albuquerque metro found out their kids will have a longer school year next year. New Mexico’s largest school district is reacting to new legislation, and it’s asking for the public to weigh in.

Albuquerque Public Schools announced a proposed calendar for the 2023-2024 school year.

“We feel we have the opportunity to be bold and to take steps that, while uncomfortable, have the potential to move the needle on student achievement,” APS Superintendent Scott Elder said.

The school year would start a week earlier – Aug. 3.

There would be four more days of school, with most schools ending the year May 31.

Elementary and middle school students would get out two hours early each Wednesday for teacher development time.

Summer and fall breaks would be shorter, but there are more days off for winter break, which would be almost 3 weeks in length, and for spring break, which would be two weeks long. APS leaders said students requested a longer spring break for mental health reasons.

“We feel strongly that this proposed calendar meets the needs of our students and will help us meet the ambitious goals set by our school board, which include improving student outcomes,” said Dr. Channell Segura, APS Chief of Schools.

This comes after state lawmakers passed a bill to increase the minimum amount of instructional time, which will impact almost every K-12 student in New Mexico. The governor is expected to sign House Bill 130 into law.

Elementary schools around the state will feel the changes the most. Some will have to add the equivalent of five more weeks of school.

APS reps said they turned to the community, specifically students, to guide them.

“We asked them the question directly, do you want us to add time to the day or do you want us to add days to the calendar,” Elder said. “They were very clear that they wanted days to the calendar over time to the day. They feel their days are long enough. They feel that would impact their opportunity to work. They were concerned about activities before and after school.”

APS leaders said this is the first time the district has increased instructional time in at least 12 years.

Also, separately, APS leaders said they are considering later start times for high schools, to align with students’ lifestyles and work schedules. As a result, the district has not set school day start and end times for next year for any grade level.

Reps said the district has taken a lot of input already on this proposed calendar, and it would like to get more feedback. People have until March 29 to weigh in through the district’s website.

With a shorter summer break, KOB 4 asked APS leaders whether they have discussed year-round school with breaks of about the same length. They said they have, and they may consider that down the road.