Moffat County schools move to 4-day instructional week |

Moffat County schools move to 4-day instructional week

Sunset Elementary in Craig.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

After years of discussion and tabling, the Moffat County School District has officially approved a four-day school week calendar for the next three years.

In each of the next three school year calendars, students attend four days each school week, with every other Friday being a professional development day for teachers. After each year, the board will evaluate the success of the calendar change, and when the three years are up, they can decide how to move forward from there.

During its workshop on Thursday, the school board discussed the second version of the calendar committee’s proposal, which featured many of the requests that board members and community members had made at previous meetings.

The 2022-2023 school year will start the third week of August, a full week after the Moffat County Fair ends. For many parents at listening sessions about the school calendar change, starting the Monday after the fair was too soon for students who compete all week. Teachers and staff who have children involved in the fair were also concerned with the calendar’s first version because there would be professional development during their children’s events at the fair. By starting later, these issues will be resolved.

The first semester will continue — including students attending class Monday through Wednesday of Thanksgiving week — until Dec. 21, the last day of classes in the first semester. Students and teachers will return for the second semester on Jan. 9. Just like years past, students will have a full week of spring break.

Another repeated concern with the original draft was about the year’s end date, which was originally slated for June. That concern is now also resolved, with school ending May 25, just before Memorial Day.

“I think it’s as clean as we can make it,” school board vice president Chris Thome said during the workshop. “I like seeing the professional days. I like the fact that we built this around the ability for teachers to get the extra training and the extra time. It’s always been kind of pushed as a recruitment tool, so hopefully, we can keep teachers and get new ones that are interested in our district.”

The board expressed profuse thanks to the work of the committee, which included faculty leadership and district staff, over the past few months, especially as concerns were brought up after the first draft. The committee took those comments from board members and two listening sessions to complete the new calendar.

In order to take away days that were scheduled in the original calendar, the committee opted to lengthen each day in addition to removing extra days that put the district over minimum requirements. In the first draft, the district was above minimum instructional time for students, but the new calendar is much closer to the minimum.

Exact start and end times for students have not been released yet. Hourly schedules at the upper levels have not been determined yet, either.

“Let me just tell you that they are exploring at both middle and high school with different schedules,” Superintendent Scott Pankow said. “And with the reduced amount of time they’re going to have, they’re obviously not going to have as much time as they did before to get into the content and look at the curriculum. We realized that there’s going to be a big change.”

The decision passed unanimously among board members who were present at Thursday’s meeting.

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