Re-2 school district considers big changes for 2003-2004 calendar |

Re-2 school district considers big changes for 2003-2004 calendar

The Garfield County Re-2 School District is considering a Student Achievement Calendar for the 2003-04 school year.”This calendar would use time wisely and also respects the needs of families and communities,” said Roy Moore Elementary School principal Mark MacHale, who serves on the calendar committee.Key components on the table are:-Summer break would be cut from the current 11 weeks to 7 1/2 or 8 weeks.-The school year would run from mid August to early June.-There would be four eight-week to nine-week quarters, with two-week breaks after each.-After each quarter, students and teachers would get a week off, followed by a week of optional intersession which would include catch-up work or enrichment classes.-There would be three vacation breaks: two weeks in October, three weeks at Christmas, and two weeks for spring break. Each break would include one week of voluntary intersession classes.-There would still be 174 days of instruction, as in the past.A week-long break in October is also included in the 2002-2003 calendar, which runs from Aug. 20 through May 30, MacHale said.MacHale said the calendar committee is looking to see how the school district can best use its time and is thinking “outside the box.”More frequent breaks can help students learn for several reasons, MacHale said. For one thing, studies and statistics show that stress levels for both teachers and students rise after eight or nine weeks in class.”Discipline goes up, bus referrals increase, and teacher absenteeism goes up,” MacHale said. “(After) being with 25 kids for eight or nine weeks, it’s time for a break.”A Student Achievement Calendar gives individual schools more flexibility in creating non-core curriculum in between quarters.For example, a class could spend three or four whole days on a river study during an intersession. “It’s hard to schedule that now,” MacHale said.Greater flexibility would better allow commuity members to come in and teach or lecture.”We could have more of an open door policy,” MacHale said.As for those August and possibly June school days, Re-2 Superintendent Gary Pack said all the schools will be air conditioned by the time the new calendar is implemented.Public meetings will be held before the 2003-2004 calendar is adopted next January or February.Those serving on the calendar committee are: Rifle High School Assistant Principal Kevin Aten, Riverside teacher Heather Knighton, Esma Lewis teacher Carol Knop, Rifle High School teacher Brenda Liesman, Roy Moore teacher Carolyn Anderson, Kathryn Senor teacher Betty Rahn, Wamsley teacher Margaret Becker-Simms, Rifle Middle School teacher Joyce Wizer, bus driver Clint Buninger, Kathryn Senor secretary Tina Bingman, parents Ed Allen and Kay Vasilakis, and MacHale.

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