Phyllis DeLong: Calendar issues

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To the editor:

I am writing about what I consider to be a very important issue facing the parents, children and education system in Moffat County.

The Moffat County School Board is preparing to vote on the school calendar 2010-11-12. I disagree with some aspects of the calendar and think many of you will, too.

The proposed start date is Aug. 19, 2010. Many will tell you that we have always started early in August until they pushed the date back to the Tuesday after Labor Day to accommodate the Craig Middle School construction and added a few minutes to the instructional day.

I like the later start. CMS is the only building in the district with air conditioning. Most of the classrooms, especially elementary, have limited windows that can be open for ventilation, and doors cannot be left open because of security issues. Children can become hot and sweaty, making for a poor learning environment.

Those preparing the calendar will tell you that it is necessary to add nine days to the calendar to help prepare for CSAP testing in March. Those of us opposing the calendar say “OK, give us our later start, leave the longer day and cut out some of the ‘extra’ days off during the year.”

The hours that are required by the state are in place, they just need to be used more effectively.

There is also a plan for early release twice a month. The idea behind this plan is to allow teachers districtwide to get together and collaborate. This will be K-12 and right now is scheduled for Mondays. Your student will be getting out of school every other Monday two hours early.

If we need to add days to prepare for CSAP, why not continue to use this time for classroom instruction? This bi-monthly early release will cause a hardship for working parents, additional day care cost and possibly time lost from work. If your child has a Title 1 or Special Education Intervention, they will also be losing four hours per month learning time. Even if they did add a collaboration day each month and have a two-hour early release, wouldn’t it make more sense to do it on Fridays?

The argument here is that coaches will be gone and can’t participate. So not only will students who are in extracurricular activities miss Friday afternoons and other days during the week for their activities, but they will also be gone for early release four hours more per month, losing more instructional time. Not all coaches are teachers, and not all coaches are coaching at the same time.

If you are concerned about any of the details concerning the school calendar, please come to the School Accountability meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Administration Building. For the committee and the board to listen, our collective voice must be heard to show there are more than just a few who want the calendar changed.

Phyllis DeLong

Comments

dogfan 4 years, 10 months ago

What is wrong with the present calendar? In my opinion they should leave it the way it is now. Having talked to a few teachers they do not have any complaints about it. Who cares if that was the way it used to be, changing it for the construction didn't seem to cause much of an uproar. Seems to me that if they are wanting to save money it will cost more if the calendar is changed and more days added to the school year.

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calvinhobbs 4 years, 10 months ago

I know numerous teachers that prefer the current calender. They feel Petrone and the board are shoving this calender at them with no reasoning, and not listening to those doing the TEACHING. All they are worried about is CSAP. It will cost more. Less student interactions with the athletes like you said. Just wait, they are talking cutting buses in town, closing the pool, not filling positions(bigger classes) etc. Speak out parents.

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Matter 4 years, 10 months ago

Starting after Labor Day, getting rid of some or all of the unneeded break days, leaving the length of the day as it is now, possibly accommodating some collaboration days (on Fri, not Mon), and getting out before Memorial Day is totally do-able. There is also talk of year round school. If you don't think that will ever happen in Craig, just keep your head buried in the sand. They keep chipping away at the summer vacation, it's all part of "conditioning" us. It wont happen this year, but just wait and see, it'll be proposed again. I'm most discouraged that this 'public and parent input' is nothing more than lip service from the school administration and board. They want us to believe we have a say in the matter. So let's see if they can prove it, and for once, listen to us and do as we request, not do what THEY want in spite of us. Stand up and be heard, your children depend on you.

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speakuporshutup 4 years, 10 months ago

If we dont speak up now we will never be heard and then what? Along with calendar changes budget cuts are also a burden. No in town bus routes, tuition for all day kindergarten, advanced students at high school pay for your own textbooks or you cant be in the advanced classes even though you are eligible. Higher activity fees double from $20 to $40 at middle school. and $55 to $110 at highschool. So now what happens to the kids of the less fortunate they get shoved back. What to do? drugs, get into gangs, or any other trouble that might find them because they cant afford the costs of going to school. Where are our tax dollars going? Why are they sitting in a savings acct. The district has approx 31% in savings and is only required to have 3%. Why not use some of this when needed. What about the youngsters that cant pay for kindergarten. No education, furthur behind son of a gun there goes the CSAP scores. Get the picture are we really for better education or just what looks good on paper.

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Anitadunnce 4 years, 10 months ago

calvinhobbs, you wrote: "Just wait, they are talking cutting buses in town, closing the pool, not filling positions(bigger classes) etc. Speak out parents."

Actually, that started already a year ago. There were three high school positions that were neither advertised nor filled as we headed into the 2009-2010 school year.

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