Hayden school calendar proposed

Four-day weeks remain throughout 2008-09 draft schedule

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Draft 2008-09 calendar

Hayden School District

First day

Principals: Aug. 11

New teachers: August 22

Veteran teachers: Aug. 25

Students: Sept. 2

Last day

Students: May 21

Teachers: May 22

Principals: June 5

Breaks

Thanksgiving: Nov. 26 to 28

December: Dec. 22 to Jan. 2

Spring: March 23 to 27

— The draft of the Hayden School District's 2008-09 calendar again includes two Fridays off each month throughout the school year to allow collaboration time for teachers.

For the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years, Hayden students had Fridays off every week from Christmas break through spring break. In the current school year, the school district scheduled the same total number of Fridays off for teacher collaboration, but extended those Fridays throughout the school year by taking off only two a month.

Superintendent Mike Luppes told Hayden School Board members Wednesday that there is overwhelming support for using that plan again next year.

"Really the only comment we've had, and it was from the high school staff, was they would like to see us start a week earlier so they can shorten the actual school day a little bit," Luppes said. The proposed schedule does not include shortening days by 15 minutes, as proposed by high school staff.

Luppes said when the school district enacted the four-day weeks three years ago, school officials committed to the shortened weeks for three years.

"This is the third year of the four-day week and (the administrative team) is concerned to throw it out to a public survey because most people have kind of accepted it at this point in time : and the only people we may hear from are the people who are against it," he said. "We wouldn't get a very balanced reaction if we threw it out to survey."

Luppes and school staff have gathered input through parent-teacher information committees and end-of-the-year surveys. Luppes noted that when the four-day weeks were first implemented, there were concerns from parents about difficulties with finding child care once a week.

"The first year, we had a few issues come up and since then, quite honestly, we haven't heard much of anything," he said.

Hayden Valley Elementary School Principal Rhonda Sweetser told board members that parents have voiced little concern to her about the four-day weeks.

Board member Kurt Frentress asked Luppes whether the four-day weeks have made an impact in the classroom.

"Most of the stuff we talk about is convenience to parents, but the bottom line is student achievement - I don't have a firm grasp on that," Frentress said.

Luppes responded that Friday morning staff work sessions are for developing intervention programs, professional learning communities and positive behavior support programs.

"Hopefully by getting all of those things in place, our student achievement will go up," he said. "It's helping a lot of the programs the school district has put in place."

The School Board directed Luppes to gather further input through the upcoming parent/teacher conferences, but all board members expressed support for the draft calendar Luppes presented Wednesday night.

"Unless I hear differently, I will bring a full draft of the calendar back to the School Board in March," Luppes said.

- To reach Mike McCollum, call 871-4208

or e-mail mmccollum@steamboatpilot.com

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