LAUSD OKs rescheduling of `optional’ instructional days

The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved an adjustment to this year’s academic calender, shifting four optional instructional days designed to help recoup learning lost during the pandemic to winter and spring break periods.

The district had originally sprinkled the optional instructional days into the school year, with the first set for Oct. 19. But United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing district teachers, blasted the proposal, saying the days were added to the calendar without proper labor negotiations.

UTLA members voted in August to boycott the first added day on Oct. 19.

Last month, the district announced it had reached a compromise agreement with UTLA, shifting the optional days to the winter and spring breaks — Dec. 19-20 and April 3-4. The days will remain optional, and teachers who opt to work will be paid at their regular salary rate.

The LAUSD board approved that schedule on Tuesday.

“Since arriving at Los Angeles Unified, I have been very clear: the district’s top priority is to provide all students with opportunities that will set them up for success,” LAUSD Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said in a statement Tuesday. “Students must not be hampered by academic status, adverse academic experiences, learning disabilities or any demographic descriptor. Every student deserves the ability to better their life. I am heartened by the collaborative effort with labor partners, which will deliver a focused, impactful approach to Acceleration Days. This move is definitely a `win’ for our students.”

With the Acceleration Days rescheduled, the dates on which the optional days were originally going to be held will not become mandatory instruction days — Oct. 19, Dec. 7, March 15 and April 19.

The additional school days were announced in April. Carvalho said at the time they “will be designed to provide a deep level of supplemental academic support for our students who need it the most — students who have lost the most ground, students in foster care, students with English language limitations or one or more disabilities. We must have the courage and compassion to provide extended quality instruction time for these students and professional development for our teachers.”

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A district representative said the extra instruction days will allow teachers and staff to work with students one-on-one or in small-group settings.

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