Roaring Fork school calendar won’t include late start for teens
A later school-day start for high school students in the Roaring Fork School District is still being explored as an option in future years but is off the table for consideration in the 2018-19 school year.
The district that includes public schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt has been discussing the proposed later start as a way to adjust for older teenagers’ biological clocks, which tend to keep them up later at night and make them groggy in the morning.
However, the study committee that has been working on the school-year calendar for the next two years determined that it’s too late in the year to make the change for 2018-19, said Kelsy Been, public information officer for the district.
The idea, while popular with some parents and students who participated in a school district survey late last year, has been frowned on by others, including district staff, who said it would cause problems with school-day and after-school scheduling.
Some educators nationally have pointed to research suggesting teenagers, for biological reasons, are better able to learn if given a little extra time to start their days. It’s an idea that has gained traction in some schools across the country,but which does present scheduling issues for teachers and staff,and can cut into after-school extracurricular activities.
For the Roaring Fork Schools, the proposal has been to start school at 9 a.m. for district high schools, instead of the current 8 a.m. start.
The Roaring Fork school board last week did approve the 2018-19 calendar on first reading. The proposed calendar will be up for a second and likely final reading at the board’s April 11 meeting, Been said.
As it looks, next school year would start on Aug. 20 and end on June 5, 2019, with high school graduations the weekend of June 1.
The calendar includes the return of a fall break for students and teachers on Oct. 18-19; a full week off around Thanksgiving from Nov. 19-23; winter break from Dec. 24 through Jan. 7 for students, with a teacher work day on the 7th; and an extra two days of spring break, extending from March 21-29.
The mid-August start is a bit earlier than usual, and somewhat earlier than this year when school didn’t start until after Labor Day due to the Grand Avenue Bridge construction impacts.
Starting the school year on Aug. 20 will allow for the first semester to end before winter break, where now there’s an awkward couple of weeks in January before the semester ends. It’s also better aligned with the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) schedule, and with other area school districts.
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“I don’t know how to feel about it,” said the Basalt firefighter who lost his home in the Lake Christine Fire last July about the sentence facing the couple who started the blaze.