The Roaring Fork School District is considering some significant changes to its school calendar that would aim to increase student achievement and enhance professional development. A new partnership with the community-wide Cradle to Career Initiative by the Aspen Community Foundation and other community resources will support the proposed changes, allowing RFSD to offer expanded learning and enrichment opportunities to K-8 students.
The biggest change will be the elimination of Late Start Mondays to Early Release Wednesdays. The changes will not only increase student-learning time but it will also allow for scheduled, ongoing, continuous professional development time for teachers, according to Superintendent Diana Sirko.
“This new structure would allow additional learning opportunities for students and teachers,” said Sirko. “Staff has told us that the allotted time on Mondays was too short to be effective. The community told us during the visioning sessions that they want to attract and retain the best teachers. This is a step toward helping us address both.
“We know that the proposed change from Late Start Mondays to Early Release Wednesdays will be an adjustment for students and families,” Sirko said. “We are very excited to announce this partnership with the community-wide Cradle to Career Initiative and other community resources which will allow us to offer additional learning and enrichment opportunities to our K-8 students during that time.”
Following is a summary of the proposed calendar for 2014-2015 year outlining the significant modifications as compared to previous years:
- Late Start Mondays Eliminated – Professional development time previously scheduled for teachers during Late Start Mondays will now take place on Wednesday afternoons.
- New Early Release Wednesdays – To allow for professional development time on Wednesday afternoon, students will be released early at 1:45 p.m. for schools that release at 3:15 p.m.; and 2 p.m. for schools that release at 3:30 p.m. This time can be combined with after school time to allow staff to participate in longer, more meaningful activities. Students will be offered a variety of enrichment activities during that time at the school.
- First Day of School for High Schools only – High schools in RFSD will begin 2 days before elementary and middle schools on Monday, August 25.
- New First Day of School for Middle School and Elementary Schools – Elementary and middle schools will start on Wednesday, August 27 – no early release that day.
- New First Day of School for Kindergarten – Kindergarten will start the same day as all elementary school students on August 27. They had previously started a week later than the other elementary students.
- New Time for K-8 Student Assessments – Student assessments will take place the Thursday, August 21 and Friday, August 22 the week before school starts. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade need to be available for assessments during this time period. There will be no days off for elementary assessments in the spring.
- New Additional Fall Break Day – Fall break will be two days for students, October 23 and 24 and one day for teachers, October 24. This is in addition to the early release on October 22.
- Parent Teacher Conferences – Parent teacher conference days have been adjusted to allow for two after school and evening time slots in addition to a morning time slot for increased flexibility around parent work schedules. Students will only have one day of school release time to accommodate Parent Teacher Conference in November and February as in previous calendars.
- Fewer Four-Day School Weeks – Parent feedback consistently demonstrated a frustration with four-day school weeks. In designing the new calendar, the committee sought to have as few four-day weeks as possible except for legal holidays and at the end of the each quarter and semester. For instance, there are no full release days during the month of April.
To review the full, proposed calendar and provide feedback via survey in English or Spanish, visit http://www.rfsd.k12.co.us/important-announcements/1303-proposed-school-year-calendar.html
About the Roaring Fork School District
Roaring Fork School District Re-1 (RFSD) is the 30th largest district in the state of Colorado with 5,436 students including preschool. Comprised of 12 schools in the Roaring Fork Valley, the district serves the communities of Glenwood Springs,
Carbondale and Basalt within the counties of Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin. The district has four elementary schools, three middle schools, four high schools and one charter school located in Carbondale.
In 2013, Basalt Middle School received the Governor’s Improvement Award for the 4th year in a row, from the Colorado Department of Education. In 2012 for the second year in a row three schools in the district, Basalt Elementary, Basalt Middle, and Glenwood Springs High School received the same award, representing the top eight percent of schools in the state. Carbondale Middle School was a recipient of this award in 2010. www.rfsd.k12.co.us