Changes in school calendar spark concern among parents |

Changes in school calendar spark concern among parents

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Parents were not particularly receptive to a proposed restructuring of the Roaring Fork School District’s school year calendar at an open meeting between school board members, RFSD superintendent Judy Haptonstall and about 15 parents on Oct. 23 at Glenwood Springs Middle School.

The point of most concern from parents at that meeting was an early release time of 1:45 p.m. for students on Wednesdays. The early release would allow teachers a weekly block of time devoted to development and planning, according to Haptonstall.

While the district administration has developed ideas as to what enrichment options would be offered to students from elementary to high school levels, parents seemed to have concerns with what was proposed at all levels.

The district’s proposal details enrichment opportunity ideas for some high school students through internships at local businesses, and the open time would allow for elementary and middle school students to partake in a variety of activities that would be assisted by outside sources. Ideas for programs through the community centers in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs were also met with much opposition from parents.

Parents voiced concern that students would not take advantage of the “enrichment” opportunities and instead “would be allowed to run around town” or “hang out at the corner.” Other parents were concerned with how the district plans to find adequate help to watch the district’s roughly 5,000 students while the teachers use the time for planning.

But school board members, including Myles Rovig, supported the early release on Wednesdays, saying it was a good option for everybody.

“It would be a very good thing for your kids, because it gives the teachers time to discuss the individual needs of the students,” Rovig said.

School board president Michael Bair also supported the proposal and said that parents were not looking at the advantages the proposal offered.

“This is just an idea that’s on the table,” Bair said. “We are looking at this in the wrong way. We are looking at it in the worst case scenario and what we don’t know. There’s got to be an evolution to this, it’s got to be able to change.”

Parents asked for an explanation on why Wednesdays were the day chosen for the early release rather than a Friday or Monday. Haptonstall’s answer was that the district looked at all the options, and Wednesday was the one day per week when no athletic contests were scheduled at the school.

Haptonstall’s response to why the planning sessions couldn’t happen on Monday or Fridays included that those days already have the highest absentee rates among teachers. And with the idea behind teachers having a planning session during business hours so they will attend and use the time effectively, Monday and Friday would more than likely be counterproductive.

A second meeting was held on Oct. 27 at Basalt High School, while a third meeting is scheduled for Nov. 13 at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale.

The board is scheduled to vote on adopting or rejecting the new calendar option in December, also raising concerns for parents saying that that date didn’t allow enough time for an adequate plan to be developed.

If the new calendar is accepted in December, it would take effect in August 2009.

Parents can go online to review the proposal and take a survey regarding the proposal at

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

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