New school district calendar nearing vote |

New school district calendar nearing vote

Nicole Inglis

— The Moffat County School District staff has had ots say. Now, it's parents' turn to give their input on the proposed 2010-11 school calendar, district officials said.

Parent advisory committees for each school are discussing the proposed third draft of the school calendar, which features a shorter school day, longer year and collaboration time for teachers.

Superintendent Joe Petrone said he values parent input and wants to be sure that community members understand the process and use their voices throughout.

"We want to encourage parents and let them understand the process and let them feel included," Petrone said. "And I think they do feel that way. We continue to get feedback from faculty, and we'll continue to collect feedback from our parents."

Parent advisory committees for individual schools already have taken place for this month, but the School District Accountability Committee postponed its monthly meeting from today until Feb. 18 to allow ample time for discussion and input.

The final draft of the calendar will be voted into place at the school board meeting Feb. 25.

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Petrone said he would welcome parents and community members to the meeting to be part of the final discussion.

"We want the PAC discussions to kind of flow through and into the SDAC meeting," Petrone said. "SDAC is devoted to parent input. We'd like to hear what they have to say on the 18th so it allows us to make changes so the board sees the updated proposal."

He said the version that was given to parents as recently as last week has undergone minor changes.

The calendar, which is reviewed every three years, was changed in 2007 to shorten the school year and lengthen school days to accommodate district-wide construction.

Now that extra summer days are no longer needed, district officials developed the new calendar with pre-construction levels as a guiding principle.

In the current proposal, the first day of school will be Aug. 19, eight days earlier than this year's start. Each school day is shortened by about 20 minutes.

One important addition to the proposed calendar, Petrone said, is teacher collaboration time in all schools.

Currently, Moffat County High School teachers have time to plan and discuss student learning for an hour Thursday afternoons.

The response from teachers about that available time was so positive, Petrone said, that administrators decided to offer it to teachers in all schools.

"It's so wonderful," Petrone said of the collaboration time the high school teachers have had.

"We originally had it as Thursdays, but the feedback we got from teachers suggested Monday would work better with the schedule."

The collaboration time will be twice a month on the second and fourth Mondays. All schools will be released two hours early those days to allow for collaboration time.

"There has been some discussions about every week instead of every other," Petrone said. "But it's very important. It matches perfectly the vision that says we'll be a professional learning community."

In addition, winter break has been extended to 10 days — accommodated by the earlier first day of school — and spring break moved back to the first week of April.

The adjusted breaks help leave room for students to adequately prepare for the Colorado Student Assessment Program exam without interruption, officials said.

Petrone said the proposed calendar is only the current draft and that more changes will be made after parent input is taken into account.

If you go

What: School District Accountability Committee meeting

When: 6 p.m. Feb. 18

Where: Yampa building, 775 Yampa Ave.

Details: The committee will discuss the most recent draft of the proposed school calendar. A final draft will be voted on at the Feb. 25 Moffat County School Board meeting.

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