District 51 board to eye calendar options tonight

District 51 school board members are scheduled to adopt a calendar format for the 2013–14 school year at 6 tonight at the Basil T. Knight Center, 2523 Patterson Road.

A full calendar with an official first and last day of school will likely be adopted at a future meeting, according to District 51 spokeswoman Christy McGee, but a calendar “concept” may be selected tonight.

The four concepts under consideration are:

■ A shortened summer, five-day weeks and two-week fall, winter and spring breaks. If grant funding is secured, the second week of the fall and spring break may be used to offer extra learning opportunities for students who are behind or who desire enrichment opportunities.

■ Four-day weeks with eight-hour, 15-minute work days for staff and 15 professional work days on Fridays.

■ Four-day weeks with eight-hour, 30-minute work days for staff and no professional work days on Fridays.

■ An Aug. 12, 2013, through May 16, 2014, school year that would look much like the 2012–13 calendar, but start a week earlier so that all Transitional Colorado Assessment Program testing could be done in one block before spring break and so that, like the other calendars, school quarters would be balanced so they are all roughly nine weeks long.

The draft versions of the shortened summer scenario and the four-day week scenario with professional work days both start the school year Aug. 5, with the five-day scenario ending the school year May 22 and the four-day scenario ending the school year May 29. The four-day scenario without professional work days lasts from July 22 through May 29 in its current draft form. The actual start, end and break days may be different in the final calendar.

In line with feedback from the Jan. 10 open houses, School Board members showed more interest in the two five-day week scenarios at their last meeting Jan. 22. Board Vice President Leslie Kiesler said the board should adopt the calendar that starts school Aug. 12 and move toward a shorter summer in 2014–15 because she has heard from some parents that they already made plans for the first week of August this year. Her motion to adopt that calendar failed to gain traction at the meeting.

Board member Harry Butler asked the board to go ahead with the shortened summer scenario with more breaks throughout the year in 2013–14. Butler and board members Ann Tisue and Jeff Leany voted not to adopt that scenario at that time after Leany said he wanted more time to study the academic impacts of a shortened summer in other districts.

A calendar committee of district staff members presented a variety of calendar scenarios to the board in December. The board picked four of those scenarios to present to the community.


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