Board decides on extended calendar

Local public schools will have a shortened summer and more breaks throughout the year in 2013-14. When those breaks will be and when the school year will begin and end is still to be determined.

District 51 School Board members voted Tuesday night to adopt an “extended” calendar model for next school year. The draft model of the extended calendar begins school Aug. 5 and ends school May 22, 2014 and includes a two-week fall break in October and a two-week spring break in March and April. Those dates will either be set or rearranged and subject to final adoption at a later school board meeting.

Superintendent Steve Schultz said the district plans to meet with Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster to discuss how to best align as many days off as possible with the university’s calendar. Schultz also said there is a possibility that if school starts earlier than usual and parents already have something planned for the first or second week of August, their students may be able to get an excused absence.

At least one week during fall and spring breaks may be used to offer academic interventions to students who are falling behind or who desire further enrichment in a subject. The district is targeting seven grants and hoping to receive at least a couple of them to fund those intervention periods, according to District 51 Executive Director of Support Services Melissa Callahan DeVita. The grants range from $50,000 to a couple million dollars apiece, DeVita said

“We’re ready to go in terms of getting those applications out,” she said.

School Board President Greg Mikolai said the extended calendar may have to be tweaked in its first year, especially if intervention funding does not come through soon. He said the calendar may start school Aug. 12 and include just one week off in October, for example, if funding was not available for interventions in the fall.

Board member Jeff Leany said he at first favored a four-day model but now prefers the extended five-day week with a shorter summer and breaks that help kids get interventions outside regular scool hours without having to wait for summer school, adding it’s the difference between helping students catch up “at the five-yard line instead of the 50-yard line.”


COMMENTS

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Oh so it is all about money and nothing to do with the students or families

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