D51 board OKs 2012-13 calendar, later spring break

District 51 School Board members moved ahead Tuesday with preliminary plans to move spring break to a later week.

Traditionally, the district gives students six days off from school, plus four weekend days, the second full week of March. The 2012–13 school calendar adopted Tuesday night, though, has spring break March 23 through March 31. The teacher workday usually tagged onto the Monday at the end of Spring Break will be taken on March 8 next year.

Board members said they made the change so students can take Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, or TCAP, tests without having to pause between tests for Spring Break, as District 51 elementary students currently do. District 51 Executive Director of Elementary Schools Andy Laase told the board Tuesday all TCAP testing in the district would be complete by March 22 next year.

Colorado Revised Statutes require districts to begin most TCAP testing the first Monday of March at the earliest and finish testing within 15 school days from the start of testing. The one exception is third-grade TCAP reading tests, which must be taken in February in accordance with the Colorado Basic Literacy Act, so teachers will get results from that test in time to formulate student reading plans before May teacher-parent conferences.

Spring Break will be the largest change in next year’s calendar. The first day of school for students will move up slightly to Aug. 20, and the last day of school will slide up to May 22, 2013. Thanksgiving break will again be a week long, Nov. 17–25, and winter break will be Dec. 22 through Jan. 7.

The full 2012–13 calendar is available at D51schools.org.

All staff again will take off five days without pay this year that used to be part of employee contracts before budget cuts sliced two days from those contracts in 2010–11 and an additional three days in 2011–12.

Board President Greg Mikolai said he would like to see calendar scenarios formed as soon as November or December this year for the 2013–14 school year, so the board could adopt that calendar as early as January or February 2013. Board member Jeff Leany said he would like to see a calendar scenario that shortens summer break, so students wouldn’t need as much time to catch up in the fall. Superintendent Steve Schultz said that is a possibility, but he said the district in the past ran into problems with the week of Memorial Day when the school year ended later.


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