More talk needed about Birmingham school calendar

BCS seeks more input on school calendar proposal

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Mark Sullivan has set a Zoom townhall meeting for March 2. The meeting will address the proposed school calendar.

The Birmingham Board of Education was set to talk about a new school calendar, which called for more days in the classroom over the summer. The goal was to make up for learning that students lost due to the pandemic, but that item was pulled.

WBRC was told by a Birmingham teacher union leader it came down to support and there was not enough support for the plan just yet.

Birmingham educators and parents all admit there is a problem. Superintendent Sullivan called it the corona slide: Students losing ground in learning because of distance learning. Sullivan put up for discussion for parents calling students back to the classroom July 19 and working about 44 days over the summer with some breaks.

The head of the American Federation of Teachers in Birmingham said in a recent survey of teachers, two to one were not happy with the proposal believing it would lead to burnout for students and teachers who are already stressed because of COVID-19.

“We often forget to come back and talk to the people it affects. Not just the teachers, but the parents and students and teachers. If you have those three groups on the same page and it’s working, it’s working. If you have one group saying ‘it’s not working’, you have to listen. I think to get where we want to go and have to go, that is what we are going to have to do,” said Richard Franklin with AFT.

Franklin says he spoke with Superintendent Sullivan Tuesday and he has been told the superintendent is calling for more informational meetings with parents and teachers to discuss the problem and possible solutions.

Franklin said it took time to create the problem and it will take time to solve it.

WBRC attempted to speak with Superintendent Sullivan Tuesday, but was told he was not available. Sullivan is expected to speak more about the meeting next week at the board of education’s meeting.

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