School Board picks calendar

Option similar to this year's schedule earns approval

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— The Steamboat Springs School Board voted Monday to stick with a school calendar similar to this year's.

The District Accountability Committee initially recommended a calendar that started earlier, ended later and included more days off in between. But the board worried the changes would not sit well with parents and instructed the committee to get more feedback.

The District Accountability Committee then put together a survey with three options and recently distributed it at parent/teacher conferences at all four Steamboat Springs School District schools.

Nearly 300 surveys were filled out by staff and parents at Strawberry Park Elementary School with overwhelming support for Option B, which was a calendar choice almost identical to this year's calendar.

However, district staff did not support Option B, and no other school supported Option B, but Strawberry Park's parental support was strong enough to give Option B more support than the other two. But not by much, which was why board member Jeff Troeger cast the lone dissenting vote Monday.

Option A, the initial calendar recommended by DAC and the one supported by staff, received 243 votes. Option C, a DAC-modified calendar, received 260 votes. Option B received 298 votes.

"What I see is two-thirds of the people unhappy with what we are doing and one school's results skewed the whole thing, which to me is interesting," Troeger said.

DAC Chair Kristin Wilson recommended the board approve Option B because it received the most support, but she wanted to reiterate to the School Board that the DAC did not feel the survey was the best tool for future calendars.

"Our intention is to develop a more comprehensive survey to be administered district-wide sometime next fall or winter," Wilson said, "and get really good feedback to make a new calendar for the fall and coming years."

Troeger agreed, but he suggested a survey be professionally conducted so the district could get the most accurate and informed information.

Parent and staff feedback was provided by Wilson.

Board member Jerry Kozatch pointed out that Blues Break, which is the February weeklong break, needs to be evaluated.

"I just wanted to mention it seemed very apparent that there was almost no support for February break," Kozatch said.

He also noted that a number of parents wanted school to start after Labor Day and for the district to limit the number of interrupted weeks of instruction. Option B includes 25 weeks of five full days of instruction, which was the least number of weeks of full instruction of the three options.

Board member John DeVincentis echoed the words of parents who asked the district, in the future, to limit the number of weeks that include parent/teacher conferences and staff development days.

Much of the concern comes at the elementary level where finding and paying for day care is an issue.

"There are nine weeks in this year's calendar and next year's calendar that are broken up with staff days and/or parent-teacher conferences. That's what everyone out there is talking about," DeVincentis said.

Every board member thanked Wilson and the DAC for the work they did on formulating the school calendar.

"For some reason the calendar is one of the toughest things you can do," board member Pat Gleason said. "Thanks for reexamining this."

2007-08 calendar

(25 weeks of 5 full days of instruction)

Start date

Staff Aug. 22

Students Aug. 27

End date

Staff June 9

Students June 6

Thanksgiving Break

Nov. 21 to 23

December break

Dec. 24 to Jan. 2

Blues Break

Feb. 25 to 29

Spring Break

April 21 to 25

Comments

id04sp 7 years, 9 months ago

School employees work for the taxpayers, not the other way around.

You don't like the calendar? GET A BETTER JOB and take your vacation when you EARN IT!

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citizenjohnq 7 years, 9 months ago

When is the school district going to start listening to its employees? I know that parents have a right to have some input on their childs education, but completely ignoring what the people who run the schools and do the work are saying? The school board wants to know why it can't attract and retain quality faculty and staff: point in case! Stop lending such a weighted ear to those that don't set foot inside our schools but a few times a year and start listening to those that are there day in and day out!

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Magpie 7 years, 9 months ago

Given the non-scientific way the survey was done, the margin of error here is pretty high. The results are Option A 30%, Option B 37%, Option C 33%- these all have to be within the margin of error meaning that the survey showed pretty much equal support for any of these three options. At this point, I expect our school board and DAC to take the lead and decide what they think is best and implement it. I am a parent at SPE and completed the survey but feel that these results did not indicate a mandate in anyway and expect my elected officials to lead. If more full weeks is better in their opinion, then these results should not have stopped them form implementing a schedule with more full weeks of instruction. I wasn't at the meeting, so I can only take my cue from this article, but the way it is written makes me believe that the board and the DAC were resigned to implement Option B for next year even though they don't think it is the best choice. If this is the case, I really think they made a mistake. had the results been 45% or 50+% for one option, then it would have been more of a mandate, but it was almost evenly 1/3rd for each option. Basically, no matter what was decided 2/3rds of the votes were against it, so have some guts and make the call you think is best for education. I am fine with Option B as I would have been with Option A and I would have lived with Option C without complaining. The survey didn't give me that choice to say that the others would have been ok, it only let me vote for one.

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sunflowergirl9999 7 years, 9 months ago

Obviously id04sp has never worked in a school with children. We work for the kids and we want what is best for kids. (Not what is best for mommy and daddy's wallet) Daycare is an issue, we get that, but what about what is best for the minds of our children. I can't wait for the time we go back to making decisions based on what is best for kids because we used to do that, but now not at all. Money, Parents, School Board agendas. That's why you have such a high teacher turnover rate in Steamboat and we are leaving to find a better job. Best for kids?

PS. We do "earn" our vacation

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another_local 7 years, 9 months ago

I am curious, what option was prefered by the teachers and why? Perhaps one of you posting who are cleary district employees would fill us in.

My own opinion as a parent with kids in the district is that I would like to see less broken up instructional weeks and a schedule that starts after labor day. I think that this would better for the kids and better for family life.

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id04sp 7 years, 9 months ago

No, flower girl, I never have. I have always had a REAL job.

In a town like Steamboat, where it takes two salaries for a working family to make it from month to month, Mommy and Daddy's paycheck IS the best thing for the kids. Just because yours rolls in regularly doesn't mean it's the same for everybody else. What snobbery!

If you cannot deal with a vacation schedule dictated by class schedules, get another job. It's very simple.

The schools are there for the kids. Teachers have forgotten that.

What's best for the parents is best for the kids. The parents are paying your salaries. The schools should serve the community that pays the salaries. Don't forget who you are -- just another variety of civil servant content to live on a mediocre pay scale that's probably more than a lot of you could make elsewhere.

You should give thanks you're working in a business that is very unlikely to go bankrupt, or have a big down-sizing, or transfer you to some town where the biggest business is moving people out of town. Check around a bit and see what's happening to other people. You've got it pretty good whether you appreciate it or not.

Teachers obtain an air of false authority because they are in charge of a bunch of kids. Try some of that $#1+ with adults who are successful in professional careers, and you'll find out where you really stand. (It's not very high.)

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sunflowergirl9999 7 years, 9 months ago

You have no idea who I am and what I am about. I left the Steamboat Springs School District because you have all forgotten what it is really about.

I started my tenure at Steamboat Springs School district making 26,000 a year in a resort community, so I know all to well about what it takes to live paycheck to paycheck. You are not understanding my point that is doesn't always have to be about money. (Mine doesn' t always roll in)

I don't care when the vacations are, tell me, but make the decision based on instruction and needs of our young minds. I don't think the teachers have forgotten that schools are there for kids, but the administration and school board have. See the news stories today about the Board and Super not getting along, or the board and principals arguing about money and benefits. How is this helpful? I do give thanks everyday that I am where I am now and as to your business issues, maybe you should find a new job. I have worked in the "real world" as you call it. I get it and as a teacher there is no for sure either. (Obviously since I was "downsized" as you call it from Steamboat.) I was one of those "other people" as you call it, so I have lived it.

I am not "in charge of a bunch of kids", I teach kids. I don't care where I stand with you or anybody else, I care about where I stand with my students. If I am not high to you, I don't care because whether you believe it or not, there are teachers out there who do care. From you tone, I gather you might think otherwise.
I am for sure not a snob by any means I was just trying to make a point that we should work together for the students.

Keep the comments coming.

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reallocal 7 years, 9 months ago

I work 70 to 80 hours a week at two jobs. That starting salary with no nights and weekends required, benefits, and time off sounds pretty nice right about now. That's my choice, and I love both of my jobs, but when electing a profession it is not usually accpetable to change the requirements of the job to fit your personal preferences. Employers have requirements, and a potential employee either meets those requirements or doesn't. I cannot remember the last time I went in for an interview and told my potential boss that I didn't want those particular hours, so could we maybe just change the business's hours? And, also, I need dental too. And a total of eleven weeks a year where, although I may be working from home, I will not be in the office. I wish I lived in your version of the real world.

Obviously, the school board has not forgotten you poor teachers, after all, you did get DeVincentis elected. I have the feeling your "downsizing" was actually the result of poor performance, because I have personally worked very hard for teachers who I know deserve to be here and deserve my support. The decision was made because the majority of parents and children preferred this option. The bottom line is that teachers work for the taxpayers in the community, not for themselves. If you want a flexible schedule, start your own business. If you don't like it, I'm sure your new school district will be happy to listen to you whine about it. Or maybe not...those people probably have jobs too.

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sunflowergirl9999 7 years, 9 months ago

You again have no idea what you are talking about. I am thinking it was not poor performance since I was teacher of the year while I was there. That is not the point. The decision was made because the majority at one school wanted it. Again, this is not about me!! About kids. I don't care about a flexible schedule. I did work 50-60 hours a week while in Steamboat. I just want the district to make decisions for kids. That is it!! That's it. I am not whining about it , I don't care about a schedule. That is not the point. It is the decision process. Can anyone get that?

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forsteamboatkids 7 years, 9 months ago

To id04sp: It is obvious why you don't have a consistent paycheck coming in each month...Ignorance doesn't pay very well!

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Dustudent 7 years, 7 months ago

Dear forsteamboatkids, reallocal, id04sp, I am a Former Steamboat public school student, Graduating in 2005 with the second largest scholarship in my class, and the largest scholarship for my area ever awarded to a Steamboat student I would like to take the time to say that Sunflowergirl9999 is one of the most incredible teachers ever to teach in the Steamboat District, Never have I met a more dedicated teacher who took so much of her own time, unpaid, to help and teach students in a department that since the downsize has become a joke, This teacher went above and Beyond the call of duty and without her help I would not be where I am today, Shame on you for attacking her, when she is only thinking of the students, and I am only 20 years old and I am astonished by how asinine and immature you are being, GROW UP!!!!! OBVIOUSLEY SOMETHING IS GOING WRONG IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM IF THERE IS SO MANY TEACHERS QUITING!!! If any of you had students that went through the upper school system before 2006, then you owe this teacher a thank you because I promise that this teacher made your child's education enjoyable and fulfilling! I have not even asked sunflowergirl9999 if I may post this, but I feel it is my Duty to let you know that she has touched more lives and helped more people then you will ever know!

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reallocal 7 years, 7 months ago

DU-I'm sorry to have offended you, and I'm sorry to sunflowergirl9999 as well. What you are witnessing here is a problem that has long plagued our public school systems. While many teachers are certainly hardworking, dedicated individuals whose main concern is the education of their students, many teachers feel that they are underpaid and unappreciated as well. This may be true (I can't make a blanket statement on that one). There also seems to be a continuing disconnect between the education system and the desires of the constituants that it serves, and it trickles down to statements made by sunflowergirl9999. This contention between the taxpaying public and the public education system manifests itself in statements like the one made by sunflowergirl9999. The fact of the matter is that we elect BOE members to serve the best interests of the constituants paying to run that district, be it hugely involved projects like the turf field or something relatively minor like the next year's calendar. Retaining good teachers is most certainly in the best interests of the district and our children, and there is obviously something wrong when we can't retain or attract the best teachers. The calendar selection by the board (this year or any other year) is NOT the reason that sunflowergirl9999 is not in our district anymore. Attacking the board for doing its job by balancing the best interests of the taxpaying community with those of our educators (especially when it comes to such a comparatively minor issue) is not a productive way to initiate change within the district, and only further destroys the already very tenuous relationship between educators, administrators, the BOE, and the public at large.

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JQPUBLIC 7 years, 7 months ago

id04sp... If you have any children, God help us all. Mommy and Daddy's paycheck IS the best thing for the kids" and "What's best for the parents is best for the kids" is an attitude far to prevalent today. It's people like you that think of school as baby-sitters instead of learning institutions and as long as you can keep those paychecks coming you can throw money at your children's problems instead of actually dealing with them. What would be best for the kids is for mommy and daddy to quit chasing the almighty dollar and raise their own kids. If you are a parent you should be thanking the teachers that care about your children not putting them down because they aren't at jobs making them rich. I know, ido4sp you can home school, oops sorry, that would take time from your "REAL JOB". You say "Don't forget who you are -- and "you'll find out where you really stand. (It's not very high.)":And you have the nerve to accuse someone else of snobbery? I'm glad you always had a REAL JOB, that means if you have kids, someone else is raising them and there may be hope for them yet. TEACHERS, I am sorry you are no longer able to do what you were trained to do: educate. It seems elected officials and parents know much more about educating children than you do, they seem to think you wasted your time going to college. I for one THANK YOU for trying to look out for the best interest of the children. I THANK YOU for your dedication to the job even though some people have more respect for the vet that treats their dog than for the teachers educating their children and I THANK YOU for being there when so many parents aren't.

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mom 7 years, 7 months ago

I doubt id04sp has kids. That was the first thing that came to mind. And anyone that does NOT know teachers might think they have weekends off, summers off, low hours, and on and on. If you DO know teachers, you know they work on weekends, in the summer, and daily hours far beyond the students' school day. And as far as money goes, I can only imagine the amount they spend on students out of their own pockets. Anyone low enough to pick on a teacher is clueless.

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