School calendar set for next two years
Bell times will remain the same for the next two years and teacher training days will be full-day affairs, say Eagle County School officials, who developed and approved the new school calendars last week.
After months of work, which included an extensive survey effort, representatives from the school district as well as the community shaped the 2004-05 and 2005-06 calendars. The Eagle County School District Board of Directors unanimously approved the calendar Wednesday.
“From the very onset of this calendar adoption process, the board indicated a desire to develop a community calendar – a schedule that addressed the chief concerns of our parents, students and staff,” said Mark Strakbein, one of the two principals who guided the calendar committee work. “This calendar plainly hits that mark and the volunteers who helped formulate this plan spent a lot of time and energy in this effort.”
In developing the calendar, the committee – which included one representative from each school in the district – had to address several state and district parameters.
Schools must meet minimum contact-hour requirements as determined by the state and the district requires 3.5 teacher training days, 3.5 teacher work days and two half-days for parent-teacher conferences. The number of contact days between the first and second semester cannot vary by more than six days.
“Parents were asked if they wanted the teacher-training days to be full days or half days, and we found that the parents preferred full days,” said Cyndy Secrist, principal at Edwards Elementary School. “A lot of people wanted a longer summer.”
In the adopting the calendar, the committee recommended that the bell times changes instituted this fall continue through at least the 2004-05 school year. Next year, elementary schools will continue to start the day at 8 a.m. and end at 2:50 p.m. Secondary schools will start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:50 p.m.
“The bell-time changes were already made,” Secrist said. “We lived with the changes this year, and it would be difficult to change it again at this point. It’s probably easier for people to not go through making those adjustments again.”
A survey that helped shape the new calendar, which resulted in 430 responses, nearly 10 percent of the families in the district, showed that 74 percent of the respondents said the bell times did not prevent the children from participating in extra-curricular activities, and 67 percent said they did not rely on a secondary student to supervise younger students.
“The responses about who should start the day first are confusing when combined with the responses indicating that the bell schedule should remain the same,” Strakbein said. “Ultimately, when the committee members took all the information into account, they decided to recommend the bell schedule remain the same.”
While bell times will not change next fall, committee members have recommended that next year’s calendar committee closely monitor specific problems, including tardiness and attendance rates and student achievement levels.
“Decisions this year will be looked at and followed up next year,” Secrist said.
Highlights of next year’s school calendar include:
– The first day of school for students will be Thursday, Aug. 19.
– The first quarter will end Thursday, Oct. 21, and students will be off from school Friday, Oct. 22.
– The Thanksgiving holiday has been shortened. Students will attend classes Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 22 and 23. Thanksgiving vacation will begin Wednesday, Nov. 24 and continue through Sunday, Nov. 28.
– Second semester will end Wednesday, Dec. 22.
– The winter vacation will begin Thursday, Dec. 23. Students will return to classes Thursday, Jan. 6
– Spring break will be Saturday, March 26 to Sunday, April 3
– A total of 175 days of school and 183 teacher days are scheduled.
– Half-day teacher training sessions will be eliminated. Instead, two training days have been planned before school starts and other training session will involve full days off for students.
– The final day of school for students will be Wednesday, May 25.