District presents calendar plans | CraigDailyPress.com

District presents calendar plans

Proposed schedule includes shorter days, longer school year, adjusted breaks

Nicole Inglis

After three years of a modified school year calendar, the Moffat County School District is proposing a return to a longer school year and shorter days.

In a work session before its monthly meeting Thursday, district administrators presented a proposed school calendar for the 2010-11 school year, which, if adopted, will remain in effect for the next three years.

The calendar was changed at the last review in 2007, lengthening summers to accommodate construction and school reconfiguration.

The proposed calendar will adjust the dates and school start times back to pre-construction levels.

Mark Rydberg, district finance director and member of the School Calendar Committee, said there were several reasons the calendar was developed to resemble the 2007 schedule.

He said there was concern throughout the district three years ago about moving to longer days and whether it was conducive to student learning and achievement, even though the number of instruction hours remained the same.

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School policy and state law dictate grades 7 through 12 must receive 1,080 hours of instruction and elementary students 990, but it does not mandate a configuration for those hours.

"Basically, when we went to the new one three years ago, we compressed the number of days and lengthened the school days," Rydberg said. "There was some concern — a lot of it from the high school staff — that having an extra two minutes per period didn't quite make up the nine days that they lost.

"The number of hours stayed the same, but they weren't sure if it worked out that way, educationally."

With those concerns in mind, the School Calendar Committee made it one of their guiding principles to return to a configuration similar to the pre-construction calendar.

"We had to change it before for the construction, and now all we're doing is returning to where it was before," he said.

There are some minor differences between the 2010 proposed calendar and the pre-construction calendar, including an earlier start date.

In the proposed calendar, the first day of school will fall on Aug. 18, three days earlier than 2007 and about nine days earlier than the past three years.

The three days will be added onto winter break, which will be 10 days long.

Another significant change from recent calendars is the timing of spring break, which is typically scheduled in mid-March.

To fit into the schedule of Colorado Student Assessment preparations and testing, spring break will be pushed back to the second full week in April.

So far, Rydberg said he has received a few negative comments about the start from staff members who are worried about the heat in early August.

Rydberg said the school district is looking for feedback from staff and parents, and it will review the proposal at upcoming meetings.

The calendar will be put before the school board for vote at its February meeting.

Nicole Inglis can be reached at 875-1793, or ninglis@craigdailypress.com.

In other action

In other action, the Moffat County School Board:

• Recognized Moffat County School District students who scored in the top 20 percent in the state for growth in the writing portion of the Colorado Student Assessment Program test.

• Approved, 7-0, the 2009 audit report.

• Approved, 7-0, a first reading of policy 6102, school year/school calendar

• Approved, 7-0, a rescission of policy 9316, minutes.

• Approved, 7-0, a rescission of policy 9312, special school meetings.

• Approved, 7-0, a first reading of policy 9311, school board meetings, which included information from the previous rescinded policies.

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