School calendar surveys in

Results indicate residents prefer existing schedule

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— Based on school calendar survey results, next year's calendar should be similar to the current one.

The Steamboat Springs School District Calendar Committee mailed more than 2,100 calendar surveys the week of Feb. 24 to district teachers and staff and the parents of district students. Recipients had approximately one week to respond to the eight-question survey.

Of the 663 responses, 74 percent said they like the current calendar, with winter break for one and a half weeks at the end of December, a one-week mid-winter break in February and a one-week spring break in April.

"It's very similar to prior Calendar Committee results," Superintendent Cyndy Simms said.

Survey results are the primary factor the committee considers when formulating a school calendar, Simms said.

This year's survey is the first since 1999. The survey response rate increased slightly from the 1999 survey.

One calendar change that could occur next year is the addition of late-start days at Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools and Steamboat Springs Middle School.

Late start, which is already done once a month at Steamboat Springs High School, is meant to provide teachers and staff with extra time for skills development, instructional improvement and team planning.

The school day begins 100 minutes later than usual on late start days.

Many questions still must be answered before late start can be implemented.

Schools must determine what, if any, activities will be available for students during the early morning when school is normally in session.

Schools must also determine who will provide student supervision during that time and how the bus schedule will be altered.

School principals, not the Calendar Committee, will decide what activities would be provided on late start days, Simms said.

"There are definitely questions that need to be answered," Simms said. "The good news is that there's definitely support for this idea."

One of the survey questions asked survey recipients if they support a district-wide late start one day each month. Fifty-two percent of the respondents support the idea and another 21 percent support late start if alternative activities for students are provided before the school day begins. Twenty-seven percent oppose late start.

In other survey results:

n Sixty-three percent of respondents support the current one-week, mid-winter break while 37 percent favor a four-day weekend instead.

n Forty percent favor a school year that begins the last week of August and ends the first week of June, 22 percent would like to see the school year start after Labor Day and end the second week of June, 31 percent support a school year without a mid-winter break that begins after Labor Day and ends around Memorial Day and 7 percent favor beginning school the second week of August and ending around Memorial Day while maintaining the current break format.

The Calendar Committee, which has until the end of this school year to complete next year's calendar, meets again next week.

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