Steamboat Springs Students in Steamboat Springs may get to sleep in for an extra hour on Wednesdays next fall if parents agree to the Late Start program proposal.
In a school board study session Monday night, principals and their assistants proposed a program to the board that would allow teachers to meet from 8 to 9:30 every Wednesday morning to discuss lesson plans, curriculum and staff development.
While the board said it thought this proposal was more efficient than last year's early release proposal, the decision shouldn't lie in the hands of the board, but the parents.
And some parents already are not in favor of the proposal.
"You're probably going to get calls from half a dozen parents who don't agree," Cherryl Sage, principal of Soda Creek Elementary, said to the board. "But that's a voice that needs to be heard. This is a proposal. We would like feedback."
Some of the complaints of the program mostly are from the elementary standpoint, said David Schmid, principal of Steamboat Springs High School. Parents are bothered by the inconvenience, he said.
Sage said a handful of parents are upset because they were not part of the calendar discussion. They proposed that schools take a week off the calendar to meet and plan for better student achievement instead of taking the time during school session.
Joanne Palmer, director of communications for the school district, said that's like comparing apples and oranges.
"We're talking about teaching and refining, teaching and refining, teaching and refining," Sage said.
However, the administrative team that proposed the program took that situation under consideration. Buses may run an hour later, but supervisors will be at schools at 8 a.m. on those days.
While elementary and middle school students would be able to use their free time in study groups, using the media services or getting tutored, high schoolers will get a chance to supervise the younger students to catch up on community service hours. Paid staff also will supervise.
The dominant reason behind Late Start is to plan for student achievement, Schmid said. With common assessments for each school in each grade, expectations can be met.
"Our focus is on what are kids learning. Do we have clear outcomes and clear standards?" Schmid said.
Although this is a time for teachers to collaborate on designing lessons to incorporate different learning styles and build character education, improving student achievement is most important, school administrators said.
By giving teachers extra time to improve instruction, reflect on things and coordinate with their colleagues, students' education will improve, they said.
"Teachers cannot be expected to do this extra work alone at home," Schmid said. All teachers are trying to find time but they're always busy working with kids."
Through support of the Parent Information Committee, Schmid said a late start once a month at the high school has been working well. On the first Wednesday of every month, high school students get the luxury of pressing snooze for another hour.
"The students love the idea," said Mike Knezevich, the high school's assistant principal.