New Garfield Re-2 school calendar maintains full week off for Thanksgiving
The next two school years for the Garfield Re-2 district will not observe Presidents’ Day or Martin Luther King day as paid holidays for staff, nor will students have those days off.
Instead, the Garfield Re-2 School Board voted unanimously March 9 to keep those as in-person school days, while the district will keep Thanksgiving break as a full week off.
The 2022-2023 school year is slated to run from Aug. 15-June 1 for in-person student days. This past school year at Re-2 runs from Aug. 15-June 2.
Speaking on behalf of staff negotiating groups, Rifle High School Assistant Principal Kyle Mickelson told the school board that one of the main reasons to not observe Presidents’ and MLK days is because New Year’s Day 2023 does not land on a Monday.
“The current cycle, we returned that Monday after New Years,” he said. “But being that (New Year’s) lands on (Jan. 2), that throws us off a day.”
“We can’t just take a carbon copy of the last two years and just overlay it for the next two.”
Mickelson also said the current school calendar creates an imbalance of in-class learning days between semesters.
“When we have an imbalance of days, that can throw teachers off and throw kids off,” he said. “Some kids are ending up with two more weeks of health class than other kids.”
To reach the district’s goal of offering 149 total school days while ensuring each student gets the same amount of in-class days, staff negotiators came up with options for tweaking the upcoming school calendar.
These options were based on two surveys made available to the public between January and February. Of which, 14 community members helped create the surveys.
Concerns expressed through these two surveys range from extending Thanksgiving break to a full week, having the last student day end earlier than later and ensuring spring break aligns with surrounding school districts.
In addition to extending Thanksgiving break to a full week, the school board voted to have the first semester end two weeks after winter break.
“This will help create that balance in semesters,” Mickelson said. “Especially at the middle and high school levels.”
The idea of tweaking the school calendar also triggered discussion amongst school board members over future ideas on how to best end the school year by June.
Some possibilities included lengthening school days or, as the district currently has in place four-day school weeks, going to five-day school weeks leading up to summer break.
School Board member Jason Shoup suggested the district shape their spring semester around the Garfield 16 district.
“They did a five-day school week just to make sure they were getting out,” he said. “They got out a fair amount earlier than we did.”
Mickelson discussed the possibility of switching the four-day week from having Fridays off to having Mondays off.
“Maybe next year, we will put that in our scope of work to start exploring what are the impacts of adding minutes to the day, What are the impacts of switching Mondays and Fridays,” he said.
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com
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