Students to push snooze

'Late start' days added to calendar

Moffat County High School students will have 14 more chances to stop at the coffee shop before heading to school next year, but they'll have to put in an extra day in exchange.

The number of "late-start" days at the high school has increased from 17 this year to 31 next year.

The 2004-05 school calendar has been approved with an increase in "teacher collaboration days," but not without a lot of effort to make it work so those days wouldn't interfere with the required number of school days.

Collaboration days give teachers the opportunity to work together to improve instruction, MCHS Principal Jane Krogman said.

"It's extremely important to have regular and frequent meetings where collaborative teams set goals and evaluate student achievement," Superintendent Pete Bergmann said.

How the concept of collaboration works varies from school to school. At the elementary level, staff members meet based on the grade level they teach. At the high school, collaborative teams are made up of members of the same department -- or broken down further by subject matter -- applied science versus environmental science, for example.

"Collaboration is time for teachers to strengthen what they do in the classroom," Krogman said.

That concept is based on what students know, how you measure what they know and how to help nonachievers.

At the beginning of the school year, collaborative teams use state standards for essential outcomes and narrow those down to the 10 or so they plan to teach to mastery.

"The teachers work together to ensure all students are reaching those outcomes," Krogman said.

Teachers share teaching techniques and lesson plans during their collaboration time.

Each quarter, students are assessed on how well they are mastering subject matter and teachers discuss strengths and weaknesses and how teaching methods can be adapted in response to those results, Krogman said.

Giving teachers time for collaboration means starting school at 9 a.m. instead of 8:10 a.m. every Thursday at the high school. It's harder to do at the elementary school level because parents are hard-pressed to find child care for younger students for less than an hour one day a week.

"The elementary school schedules were the hardest to build collaboration time into," Bergmann said.

Collaboration time for elementary school teachers is worked into the daily schedule, taking advantage of classroom aids to take over instruction while the teachers meet.

Elementary students will not have school Nov. 12 to accommodate parent-teacher conferences and additional collaboration activities.

"We didn't come up with the perfect solution, but we did come up with what we think is the best solution," said Sunset Elementary School Principal Jim Rugh.

School for all Moffat County School District students begins Aug. 23. Late starts for high school students begin Sept. 2 and run every Thursday through April.

The last day of the 2004-05 school year is May 5.

Secondary school students will attend 177 days of school, while elementary school students are scheduled for 174.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.