District 51 sets meetings for 2013-14 calendar, four-day week options

School District 51 will host informational meetings Jan. 10 at four different schools to gather community feedback on various school calendar options.

Members of a staff committee tasked with researching different calendar scenarios presented four draft options for the 2013-14 school calendar at a Dec. 11 School Board meeting. The options, which are flexible, will be available for public view at the Jan. 10 meetings, each of which will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at Shelledy Elementary, Pomona Elementary, Bookcliff Middle School and Palisade High School. Parents, staff and community members are asked to attend whichever meeting location is most convenient for them.

Members of the calendar committee and district executives will be spread out at the four meetings and available to answer questions about different calendar scenarios. Attendees can offer their opinions on each scenario in person and/or fill out comment cards at the meetings.

District 51 spokeswoman Christy McGee said the purpose of the Jan. 10 meetings is to gather more public input on the calendars to share with the board before it adopts a calendar in the next few months. She said the district wants to know how the calendar options will impact not just families and district employees but local businesses and community groups as well.

“We got feedback last year in surveys but we still want more,” McGee said.

Calendar scenarios presented to the board earlier this month include an option that is similar to the 2012-13 school calendar, with school beginning Aug. 19 and ending May 21. Another scenario starts school a week earlier on Aug. 12 and ends May 16.

A third scenario begins school Aug. 5 and ends school May 22. The goal of that schedule is to extend the school year by making summer breaks shorter and adding a one- to two-week fall break and extending spring break to last two weeks.

A fourth option includes a four-day school week and extends the school year from July 29 to May 22. That scenario includes a two-week-long spring break and a week-long fall break and eliminates early release Wednesdays.

Calendar committee members warned School Board members the last two scenarios may require some transition and advanced planning time and so may have to wait until 2014-15.

Board member Jeff Leany requested the district consider a fifth scenario with a four-day week schedule that would keep school days the same length they are now. The four-day calendar presented by the committee in December called for school days that are 60 to 90 minutes longer than they currently are to make up for lost time on Fridays.


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