Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs public school administrators told school board members at a study session May 7 that the controversial Late Start program would need further study.
In fact, administrators said they may need a new method altogether for providing teachers with time to work together to improve student achievement.
"They're not trying to sell Late Start. There are a lot of different solutions," Superintendent Cyndy Simms said.
Administrators from each public school in the district pulled together to inform parents and the community about the Late Start proposal through two community forums.
But the low attendance demonstrated to administrators that they needed a new method to get the word out.
Sandy Hall, principal of Steamboat Springs Middle School, said only 400 surveys were returned district-wide.
"This led us to believe to continue to work on a new proposal," Hall said. "The majority of the response was positive, but there was enough concern expressed that it's not good enough to go ahead."
Pulling a team of parents, staff, proponents and opponents of the proposal, administrators will begin redesigning the proposal or constructing a new program so that teachers have collaborating time for teamwork.
"I think it's real important that all parents have the opportunity to know what all the options are and how that impacts our children," said Mary Liz Gale, mother of a second-grader and fourth-grader at Soda Creek Elementary.
Gale said a large percentage of parents didn't know the implications of Late Start.
Gale has conjured up a couple of solutions herself and even mentioned mimicking Lowell Whiteman Primary School's system, which releases children from school at noon every Friday.
"I'd rather it be Friday afternoon," Gale said of a redesigned Late Start. "Let teachers start the year earlier and pay them for it.
"If we have so many extra contact hours, I'd like the students to start later in the year," she said.
Paul Fisher, vice president of the school board, voiced a curiosity for the administrators' confidence in coordinating a new solution or program.
"Where is your confidence level, between one and 100? Is it around 25 or 75?" Fisher asked.
Hall responded that administrators and supporting parents are confident they will find a solution.
"We want to find a way not to disrupt the community," Hall said.
Simms said the increased demands from the state and the school district to get students to be proficient on standards is putting pressure on teachers to pump up student achievement.
In turn, this increased demand means teachers need more time to spend together on collaborative lesson plans that integrate other disciplines, virtues and different learning styles and intelligences.
"We keep raising the bar and we've got to invest the time," Simms said. "We recognize there's still a problem. We're asking that teachers upgrade the curriculum, but we need to find a way to provide the time."
The Late Start proposal calls for every public Steamboat school to start at 9:40 a.m. one day a week in order for teachers of every grade and every school to identify teaching techniques, increase teaching skills to meet the needs of raised content standards and implement different learning styles, among others.
Student achievement has been the forefront issue for teaching staff and administrators who have developed the proposed plan since last fall. Judy Harris, director of content standards for the school district, said the objective is not to teach the test, meaning the Colorado Student Assessment Program, but to target the areas within CSAP to raise the level of achievement.
"(If) we expect all students to be proficient, that means we have to revamp the curriculum," Simms said. "We think that's a good idea."