With the Guam Department of Education’s shift to a 2-cohort system and the resulting loss in students’ learning time, there have been calls for GDOE to adopt a year-long education schedule.
However, GDOE deputy superintendent Jose Sanchez said that shifting to year-long education is not a simple and easy undertaking.
“Number one, it would require board action if that’s something that we wanted to make required. And if it is something that we want to make required, it’s going to require funding. And of course, we’re going to have to identify funding for that,” Sanchez said during a GDOE media briefing.
He added: “I mean we do have federal funding potentially for things like that. But if it’s something that becomes required, we might run into some issues there because it’s just extending a regular part of the school year.”
Moreover, Sanchez said GDOE would have to go into a deeper discussion with the Guam Federation of Teachers because there may be some issues with requiring teachers to work for supplemental time.
“It’s different from previous years when you have a typhoon, and you’re out for a week. Nobody works for that week, I mean, unless the other ones who are watching the shelters and things like that. But basically, because the teachers are out for the entire week, there’s no teleworking, there’s no online classes, nothing. They’re basically not on duty. So tacking on that week, at the end of the school year, is normally not a problem,” the deputy superintendent said.
In the current situation, Sanchez said that’s not the case because teachers are expected to conduct online classes, teachers are expected to call students, and teachers are expected to provide lessons.
“Teachers are working … So it would require some discussion with the Guam Federation of Teachers if we want to require teachers to extend their school year by a week or more than a week. If. And then if it’s not determined that we can require them to work, then that would mean we would have to put on volunteers,” Sanchez said.
He added that teachers also really need their time off and not everyone is keen on working over the summer.
“So there’s just a bunch of factors that need to be taken into account and a number of different folks that need to be involved in the discussion and planning if you were to extend the school year,” Sanchez said.