Moffat County School Board to discuss 3 calendar options |

Moffat County School Board to discuss 3 calendar options

Nicole Inglis

— After receiving input from staff and community members, Moffat County School District officials will present three 2010-11 school calendar options for vote at Thursday's School Board meeting.

At a Feb. 18 School District Accountability Committee meeting, more than 50 parents showed up to voice concern about the proposed calendar, which featured a start date of Aug. 19 and twice-a-month collaboration time for teachers on Monday afternoons.

Many parents said they would prefer school start after Labor Day and that collaboration not interrupt a consistent daily schedule.

Superintendent Joe Petrone said he and the calendar committee have taken that input into account and met with individual groups of parents who feel strongly about making changes to the proposal.

"We think we've met some of the concerns from the public and even answered questions directly about collaboration, which is so important to us," he said.

Petrone sent an e-mail Monday to several parents he had communicated with outlining two new calendar options featuring a different collaboration structure and later start dates.

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A total of three proposals will be up for discussion in a work session at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Moffat County School District administration building.

The board also is scheduled to vote on the issue during its regular meeting at 6:30.

If adopted, the new calendar will remain in effect for three years before it is up for review again.

The first of the three calendar options, option A, will be the calendar proposed before it reached the SDAC committee, which includes an Aug. 19 start date and a two-hour early release two Mondays a month to allow for teacher collaboration.

"I'm not sensing there's going to be strong ownership of the first calendar," Petrone said.

Because many parents expressed concern about early release on Mondays, the calendar committee opted to offer Friday afternoons as collaboration time for both options B and C.

Options B and C have collaboration time scheduled for every Friday, releasing students 75 minutes earlier than a normal day.

While some parents did voice questions about whether collaboration time was necessary, Petrone never had a doubt that teacher collaboration is important to student learning and achievement.

"Looking at the vision and mission and an ideal state for the school, it's very clear we talk about partnership and the importance of being a team player," he said. "Collaborating is one of the strongest and most meaningful ways to promote that."

The two new calendar options also feature later start dates, which was an area of concern among the parents who attended the SDAC meeting. Petrone said he had also received feedback from teachers favoring a later start date.

In option B, the first day of school falls on Aug. 26. In option C, students begin classes Aug. 30.

In both cases, two days have been taken from school breaks — one day from fall break and one from President's Day weekend in February 2011.

School days also are lengthened by a few minutes in each option to keep consistency in instructional hours, which have to meet state requirements.

Petrone said the two new options still maintain the guiding principles of the calendar process, even after attempting to compromise with varying ideas in the community.

"We're confident that this isn't an erosion of our beliefs and it's what's best for students," Petrone said. "We wouldn't have proposed it otherwise. This is a compromise that seems workable and satisfactory. We are trying to harmonize differences while preserving the importance of the students and those that teach them every day."

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