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Calendars approved for Sea to Sky schools

Number of early dismissal days reduced to two



The Sea to Sky School District has approved the calendars for each of its schools for the next two years.

The biggest change for schools in Whistler is the reduction of collaboration days — from four full days a year to two early dismissal days.

All three of Whistler's schools will now have two early dismissal days — an earlier draft of the calendars had 10.

School superintendent Lisa McCullough said the changes were a result of parent feedback.

"Parents are finding it hard to get the daycare," she said.

"There isn't a lot of daycare available for early dismissal like that, because it's infrequent, it's not regular and consistent, so they're struggling with the daycare part."

Early dismissal and collaboration days differ for schools throughout the district, which McCullough also said is a result of community feedback.

"(It's about) feedback from staff, feedback from parents, (and) what the school is trying to accomplish," she said.

"Every school has a professional learning plan, and how they develop their plan is just different in each school. Each staff takes a different approach to their professional learning, they want to learn different things and in different ways, and so each school will ask for something different through the calendar."

Former District Parent Advisory Council chair Cathy Jewett said she was somewhat surprised by the changes to the calendars.

"(But) I think given what's happened this year, with the school year starting later due to the teachers strike, that there had to be some time found in the calendar," Jewett said.

The early dismissal days will make things difficult for working families, she said.

"It's not to say that collaboration time for teachers is not important. It is, but these decisions do have to be made in conjunction with remembering the effects that it has on the families," she said.

"But it at least is more time in school for the children."

Reached for comment by email, Sea to Sky Teachers' Association president Carl Walker said: "Teachers are strongly committed to professional learning and growth through collaboration with their colleagues. Collaboration time is most effective when it is established within the school calendar, on an ongoing basis. Teachers will continue to collaborate with their colleagues, within the limited time available."

McCullough said the calendars were about finding the right balance.

"Teachers would always like to have more collaboration time because they feel it's effective, and it's helping them to work on their practice," she said.

"But based on the parent feedback that was received, the principals got together and said we have to align them more closely, and we have to reduce the number of early dismissal days."

Full calendars for all of Whistler's schools can be found on the district's website,