Back to school already? |

Back to school already?

Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE – It may seem as though the summer just started, but for local school-age kids, it is nearing its end.

On Wednesday, middle and high school students enrolled in Eagle County Schools report back to school. On Wednesday and Thursday, Eagle County Schools elementary-age kids begin their testing appointments, and their first day of classes is Friday. Dozens of high school athletes are already at fall sports practice.

Eagle County Schools Communications Director Brooke Macke said that the Eagle County Schools Calendar Committee – a group that includes one parent for each school receiving transportation services in addition to two teachers, a transportation department representative, two principals and a school board member – completed more than 350 phone surveys and compiled more than 700 web surveys to develop the 2012-13 calendar.

“There will be 171 student contact days in the calendar, with a permanent reduction of three furlough days,” Macke said. “This allows for a full week off during Thanksgiving break, and 76 percent of respondents supported this.”

Macke added that starting school earlier means the end of the second semester comes before the holiday break.

“The calendar will still include both the mid-winter break and spring break schedule, with over 80 percent of the surveys in support of this scheduling,” Macke said.

According to Macke, two of the biggest changes for Eagle County Schools this year involve transportation and school lunch.

“Transportation routes are moving to consolidated bus stops,” she said.

The 2012-13 bus-route schedules can be found at the school district website – For some buildings, the changes mean fewer stops, and for others, including Brush Creek Elementary School, transportation services are no longer offered.

The news on the school lunch side reflects a growing nationwide consciousness about healthy eating.

“In an effort to replace processed and unhealthy foods in lunchroom cafeterias, the Fresh Approach initiative will expand to all schools by incorporating self-serve, fresh fruit and vegetable bars in every single elementary, middle and high school,” Macke said. “Chefs are being trained on scratch-cooking techniques and much more.”

New leaders at downvalley schools include Eagle Valley Elementary Principal Tiffany Dougherty, Eagle Valley High School Athletic Director/Assistant Principal Tami Payne and interim Red Hill Elementary School Principal Harry McQueeney.

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