Frequently Asked Questions for 2021-2022 Sheridan Pilot Calendar

Sheridan logo on a blue abstract background




This Alternative Calendar Pilot Project proposed for Sheridan Elementary School during the 2021-2022 school year would allow the Board of Education of USD 475 to test the operation and impact of this alternative calendar on a very small scale to analyze whether there are any positive outcomes for student achievement and employee job satisfaction.  

The goal would be to review the data from the implementation and operation of this this pilot project to determine if it should be implemented district wide. 


This Alternative Calendar Pilot Project provides the same breaks as other school districts and the same number of teacher contract days as in previous years.

This Alternative Calendar Pilot Project will still allow students to continue to have an eight-week summer break while allowing students and teachers to have an extended break after each quarter.  The eight-week summer break supports the district’s effort toward offering a robust summer school program for students needing enrichment opportunities. 

The Alternative Calendar Pilot Project is not a year-round calendar.  A year-round calendar would require additional days/weeks.  The Alternative Calendar Pilot Project maintains the current 189 teacher workdays.

Expected outcomes will include

  1. Attendance- our data indicates that students in Tier 2 and Tier 3 are chronically absent.  This means that a student has missed over 5% of the total number of days of school. Current data demonstrates 20% of our students are in the Tier 2 and 3 criteria. Goal: Reduce the number of students in both Tier 2 and Tier by 3% during the pilot year at Sheridan Elementary.
  • Increased Math scores– our data indicates that students in Tier 2 and Tier 3 are performing one or more years below their current grade level or peers .  Current Fastbridge data demonstrates 45 % of our students are in the Tier 2 and 3 criteria. Goal: Reduce the number of students in both Tier 2 and Tier by 3% during the pilot year at Sheridan Elementary.
  • Increased ELA scores-our data indicates that students in Tier 2 and Tier 3 are chronically absent. Current Fastbridge data demonstrates 46 % of our students are in the Tier 2 and 3 criteria. Goal: Reduce the number of students in both Tier 2 and Tier by 3% during the pilot year at Sheridan Elementary.
  • Improve staff morale and reduce burnout– based on surveys. Goal: Increase collective teacher efficacy as stated by John Hattie (252 Influences and Effect Sizes Related To Student Achievement). Collective teacher efficacy is the belief that teachers can more positively impact the learning of their students if they work as a team.
  • Subgroup gaps- will close/improve by 2-3% each yearly reporting period based on the MTSS utilized at Sheridan Elementary School.

The Superintendent or his designee will provide quarterly updates to the BOE and community on Sheridan Elementary School’s academic performance based on identified assessments and day to day operations.    The principal will be responsible for observing every teacher once per month for 20 minutes.  Additionally, central office teams will observe teachers monthly through the district’s established Systems of Support (SOS).  These observations (by the principal and district teams) will confirm behaviors/actions and practices that support the accomplishment of the goals.  If support is needed the district’s team will provide that assistance through professional development and coaching.  The principal will also ensure monthly data reviews occur, allowing teachers the opportunity to adjust their delivery of instruction. 

Proposed Positive Attributes:

Addresses the COVID academic slide

Fewer uninterrupted weeks (more instructional time)

Teacher self-care (time off between quarters) more frequent opportunities for wellness checks and well-deserved rest

Professional Development/Collaborate/Plan/Reflect (during each break)…time to learn, plan to implement, analyze data, and strategically plan for the next quarter

Additional assistance for Tier 2/3 students during the breaks (MTSS), plan for enrichment of those mastering skills

An opportunity to involve community agencies (YMCA/Boys & Girls Club/Faith Based Organizations/United Way/Live Well Geary County, etc.).  They can provide services and programs during the two-week breaks. 

Continued Summer School option- We must ensure students are promoted each year with academic skills at or above grade level.  If not, we know that the achievement gap continues to grow.  If we are going to improve our graduation rate (90% by 2025 and beyond), we must ensure students have the prior knowledge (prerequisite skills) needed for mastering new curriculum. 

Families will have more opportunities for advance planning of family time/vacations/trips during all four seasons of the year.

We foresee better attendance, and less discipline issues, during the school year for staff and students alike, knowing that there is a break at the end of each quarter.

If this becomes a district-wide offering, Elementary and Secondary students will enjoy the same days out of school. This makes it easier for parents to manage childcare, without adverse effects on Secondary attendance.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What? USD 475 Geary County Schools is proposing piloting an alternative school calendar

When? For the 2021-2022 school year

Where? Sheridan Elementary School

Why?  This Alternative Calendar Pilot Project will provide a more flexible school year calendar

to provide more classroom instruction during the school week and more frequent school rest

breaks after each academic quarter for students and staff. The purpose for the pilot calendar is

to confirm that uninterrupted instructional time along with interim breaks will increase student

achievement and improve teacher self-care (more frequent opportunities for wellness checks

and rest). 

If my child attends a different school and we want to take advantage of what the pilot school

offers, may we transfer schools? The district has a transfer request process in place that will be

followed if transfer requests are desired either to or from the pilot school.

If my family has already planned a vacation during the new start date begins, what do we do?

Talk with the building principal and make known your plans so plans can be made to work with

your family.

We may have daycare issues based on the pilot calendar start, end, and breaks. What are our

options? The Boys and Girls Club, along with the JC YMCA have agreed to bring their program to

Sheridan School on the days that Sheridan is out of school and the rest of the district is in school.

This will be a full day offering with breakfast and lunch included. Students who receive tutoring

may also join the Boys and Girls Club care, before or afterwards, should parents choose to

participate. At this time, research is being conducted to find grants to help defray costs to


We know that parents appreciate advanced notice so they can plan out care for their children.

Having this much advance notice was appreciated by families. During the COVID

pandemic little notice was given, and parents were amazing and resourceful in finding daycare

alternatives. Also, daycare facilities will have advanced notice to meet the needs of the students

affected. Our hope is to implement this calendar district-wide in the future, so that Elementary

and Secondary students are in and out of school on the very same days in the future, alleviating

issues for many families in our district and increasing the attendance of secondary students

tasked with babysitting younger siblings.

For the upcoming school year pilot proposal, there are only ten days when Sheridan’s students

are off when the rest of the district will be in school:   October 4, 5, 6, 7; March 7, 8, 9, 10, 25;

and April 25 (Good Friday). There are only 9 days when Sheridan’s students are in school while

the rest of the district is off: August 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10; Sept. 3, March 4; May 13

Will it be mandatory for my student to attend during the intersession breaks? The offering of

services during intersession periods is by invitation, and is a voluntary opportunity available for

the parent to decide what best meets their child’s needs. However, it may be deemed

mandatory if a student is in a truant status.

How will the “success” of the pilot school be measured? We will use our Fastbridge assessments, as well as real-time classroom progress monitoring data to show student growth and report that growth to the district. (State Assessments are only one-time tests in the spring that do not necessarily show precise student growth)

Will attendance of Sheridan’s students be measured against previous years and other schools not part of the pilot program? We have historical data of student attendance and will measure attendance of our students for the 2021-2022 school year against their previous history to show growth trends.

How many of the 240 families at Sheridan Elementary be negatively impacted? We had 81 responses to one survey and 36 responses to another survey. The majority of the concerns expressed dealt with childcare and a difference in schedules between schools. The survey also revealed misconceptions, such as not having a summer break and thinking that a large number of students would stop attending Sheridan Elementary School. One point of note with both surveys is that they were anonymous and the IP addresses were not captured to indicate how many times a person may have submitted responses.

How many will leave Sheridan or the district? The survey indicated that one respondent would seek transfer to another school should we continue with the pilot, and there were ten responses indicating they might transfer. The principal has already spoken to many families requesting transfers into our school for next year.

How many teachers within the district will this affect? We will work with the district to make sure we are using our itinerant staff in the most effective ways between buildings. We share Ell, OT/PT, Speech, and a School Psych. Two teachers have requested transfer into our building for the upcoming school year.

How many teachers/support aides will be leaving Sheridan Elementary in the 2021-22 school year?  Personnel issues are not to be discussed with the public, and at this time none of our Sheridan teachers are leaving because of the pilot calendar.

How does this affect teacher contract negotiations? Negotiations will ensure that the teacher contract days remain the same, and the pilot calendar clearly shows the same number of teacher contract days.

How does this affect the bus contracts for the district? We are currently working through the bus contract issues and we are currently working with the transportation dept. to find viable solutions for our current Sheridan student bus riders whose families wish to transfer to another school. An upcoming district survey is being discussed to provide us answers to the number of students that want to transfer out of and into our school.

The transportation department has agreed to bus any bus student not wanting to attend Sheridan due to the pilot, to Grandview Plaza Elementary School. Students that do not ride the bus, wishing to transfer due to the pilot, will be welcomed at Franklin Elementary School.

Will transportation be available to all Sheridan students on days that the rest of the district is not in session? Students who are normally transported to school each day by bus will continue to be transported to Sheridan on days the rest of the district is not in school.

Sheridan Pilot of the District Alternative Calendar