The Roaring Fork School District Re-1 is looking at some significant changes to its school calendar for next year, including doing away with the current late-start Mondays for students and replacing it instead with an early release on Wednesdays.
Currently, the 9 a.m. start for students on Mondays allows teachers and staff to use that extra time before school for professional development.
In order to maximize that time, which Re-1 Superintendent Diana Sirko said is ultimately aimed at increasing student achievement, the district is proposing to release students early on Wednesday afternoons.
In conjunction with that proposal, the district is working on a new partnership with the Aspen Community Foundation’s Cradle to Career Initiative and other community organizations to offer expanded learning opportunities for K-8 students during that after-school time.
“This new structure would allow additional learning opportunities for students and teachers,” Sirko said in a news release announcing the proposed calendar changes.
“Staff has told us that the allotted time on Mondays was too short to be effective,” she said, noting that a key goal during the recent districtwide visioning sessions was for the district to be able to attract and retain the best teachers.
“This is a step toward helping us address both,” Sirko said.
As proposed, district schools that normally release at 3:15 p.m. will release students at 1:45 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning Sept. 3, and schools that normally release at 3:30 p.m. will release at 2 p.m. on that day.
“We know that the proposed change from late-start Mondays to early-release Wednesdays will be an adjustment for students and families,” Sirko added. “We are very excited to announce this partnership with Cradle to Career Initiative and other resources, which will allow us to offer additional learning and enrichment opportunities to our K-8 students.”
Before adopting the 2014-15 school year calendar, the district is asking for feedback via online survey at http://www.rfsd.k12.co.us/important-announcements/1303-proposed-school-year-calendar.html. The proposed calendar can also be viewed at this link.
The Re-1 school board is also scheduled to discuss the calendar changes during its regular Wednesday, Feb. 26, meeting at Basalt High School, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Other key calendar dates and proposed changes include:
• The first day of school for district high schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt will be Monday, Aug. 25, while elementary and middle schools, including kindergarten, will start two days later on Aug. 27 (no early release on the first day)
• K-8 student assessments will be the week before school starts, on Aug. 21 and 22. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade need to be available for assessments during this time period. There will be no days off for elementary assessments in the spring.
• Fall break Oct. 23 and 24 for students and Oct. 24 only for teachers. This would be in addition to the early release on Oct. 22.
• Parent teacher conference days have been adjusted to allow for two after-school and evening time slots, in addition to a morning time slot for increased flexibility around parent work schedules.
• Fewer four-day school weeks, other than legal holiday weeks, based on parent feedback.