Tuesday, January 14, 2003
Steamboat Springs In an effort to increase school-calendar flexibility, the Steamboat Springs School District Calendar Committee is considering extending the school day by five minutes.
Adding five minutes a day would allow the committee to schedule two fewer school days each year without affecting the number of hours students interact with teachers, Superintendent Cyndy Simms said.
In fact, the number of contact hours would actually increase slightly, according to a handout distributed at Monday night's school board meeting.
State law mandates 990 "contact hours" for elementary students and 1,080 contact hours for secondary students. Currently, each district school exceeds the state requirements.
Past calendar policy has required a minimum number of school days in addition to the state hour requirement. However, the school board recently voted to eliminate the day requirement.
Freeing up two days each year would allow for additional staff development and instructional improvement, Simms said. The current calendar dedicates six days to instructional improvement, but those days are often used for other purposes, such as preparing for the school year and tying loose ends at the conclusion of the year, Simms said.
Late start, which is done once a month at the high school, is also being considered by the committee for district-wide use. Classes begin two hours late on such days, providing teachers with extra time for skills development and instructional improvement.
The committee is working to complete its parent, staff and student survey, which will seek input to help the committee make its final decisions for next year's calendar.
In other business, the school board adopted former Administrative Policy F-15, shifting responsibility for the policy, which deals with the distribution and posting of materials on school ground, from administration to the board. The policy has been questioned recently in light of adult representatives of a religious organization talking with students at the middle school.
"It is an important enough subject where from time to time it involves some policy decisions that I think should be made at the board level," board member Tom Sharp said at Monday's meeting.