Help shape the RFSD school calendar |

Help shape the RFSD school calendar

Superintendent's Corner
Judy Haptenstall
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

If ever there was a topic guaranteed to generate a wide variety of opinion and ideas, it’s the discussion of what a school calendar should look like.

Restricted by a 184 -day contract with teachers and a minimum number of student contact days required by the state, groups of teachers and administrators over the years have served on committees to help develop the district’s two-year calendar.

Because we realize that the school calendar impacts so many people’s lives, we do our best to address as many needs as possible, but in the end, it’s never possible to make everyone happy. Failing happy, we’ve opted for six ideas that focused on making educational sense.

The typical school calendar was created in the early 1900s to address the needs of an agricultural society. Children were needed at home after school to help with the chores around the farm or ranch, and summers were critical times for caring for and harvesting crops.

Much has changed in our lives since the early 1900s, but the idea that school should start after Labor Day and end at Memorial Day is ingrained in many of our memories. That’s just how school is done.

While it’s always difficult to break with tradition, the Roaring Fork School District opted to test the waters of looking a different ways of structuring the school year.

A brave committee of teachers and administrators began work in November developing possible school calendars for the next two years.

Our primary goal was to develop a calendar that best meets the needs of our school district as we work to ensure that our students receive maximum benefit from their education.

We were also mindful of the impact the school calendar has on parents and community.

High schools would like to start school earlier in order to end their semester before Christmas, allowing students to complete semester tests before they go on break.

Many business owners depend on student employees and would be impacted by students returning to school before Labor Day.

Schools need time during the year for teacher training as teachers are not paid for their time during the summer.

Parents are impacted by the need to find child care when schools take time out for staff development.

Many parents would like spring break scheduled after the ski season ends, but others feel that April is too late in the school year to be taking a long break. The school community and many parents agree that three months of summer vacation is too long of a time for students to be out of school.

With a myriad of conflicting needs, the committee has created six options that will be provided to staff, parents, and community to review over the next several weeks. Feedback is due by Feb. 15.

After reviewing the feedback, the committee will consider all of the comments and ideas to create one calendar to be presented to the board for adoption by March12.

I encourage you to take time to review the options and give us your thoughts and ideas. You may decide you like one of the options, several of the options, or none of them.

You may like different features of different calendars. and you are welcome to make suggestions regarding those features that you either like or dislike.

Calendar options are also available on the school website at for parents and community to view.

We’ve asked that any input from website access be returned by Feb. 15 to one of the schools in the district or to the district office at 1405 Grand Ave.

Judy Haptonstall is superintendent of the Roaring Fork School District.

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