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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Davis Joint Unified School District implements new instructional calendar for 2023-24 school year

The calendar now observes Indigenous People’s Day


By ALMA CULVERWELL city@theaggie.org 


Last March, the Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) approved a new instructional calendar for the upcoming 2023-24 school year. The new calendar’s changes include observing Indigenous People’s Day on Oct. 9, starting school on Aug. 22 and ending school on June 6. This calendar was implemented following an agreement between teachers and parents that a day off between the start of school and winter break would be appropriate.

                         Laura Juanitas, the DJUSD associate superintendent of student support services, explained the justification for the shift in the instructional calendar.

  “The committee wanted to explore whether having a day off [in the fall] may give people a bit of a break, maybe reduce stress and also honor Indigenous People’s Day,” Juanitas said. 

Cara Messmore, DJUSD Director of Student Support Services, said that the change is being implemented in part as a way to support student and teacher mental health

 “An extra day off offers an opportunity for self-care,” Messmore said. “I encourage staff and students to identify something they can look forward to each month, no matter how small. The new calendar provides an opportunity for staff and students to plan a quick getaway, take a fall hike, make plans with friends or just enjoy an additional sleep in. Staff tending to their mental health prevents burnout which allows them greater job satisfaction and allows them to create the conditions for students to feel connected and thrive.

Parents and teachers completed a survey so that committee members could get a sense of what day off would work best to accommodate people’s working schedules. They originally looked into taking more than one day off, but after the survey they settled on only one. Over two-thirds of the people surveyed responded that they would be open to taking a day off during the month of October.

Although instructional calendars are typically approved for three years at a time, this new calendar was only approved for the 2023-24 year. Joe DiNunzio, the school board trustee for area 3, reflected on the impacts of this change and what future schedules might look like. 

“I believe that providing a day off on Oct. 9 to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day will be very well received by our students, teachers and community members,” DiNunzio said. “It allows us to honor the cultures and histories of the Native American people and provides a needed long weekend for students and staff in the fall. The calendar was approved for only the 2023-24 school year, and the District will review the impact of the change before deciding to either propose renewing this calendar or recommending additional changes.” 

The updated instructional calendar will be implemented with the start of the 2023-24 school year on Aug. 22, 2023.


Written by: Alma Culverwell city@theaggie.org