Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Blues break back on calendar
Superintendent Shalee Cunningham explains the decision behind the 2009-10 school year calendar.
Steamboat Springs A month after proposing a school calendar without the weeklong, mid-winter blues break, Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Shalee Cunningham agreed Monday to reinstate the popular vacation time for Steamboat students and parents.
Cunningham said she received feedback from many parents and staff supporting the break as a way for students to unwind. She had changed the break to a four-day weekend, but staff said the stretch from winter break to spring break was too long.
"The teachers felt very strongly about a February blues break not being shortened because their feeling : was that the stretch from winter break to April was just too much," she said.
The highest priority expressed by parents was starting school later in August and ending earlier in June, Cunningham said. To accomplish that, she shortened the blues break to four days and shortened Thanksgiving break by two days before changing the calendar back in response to feedback.
"If this is what they want, and they really do want it, then we're going to have to sit down and have the educational conversation about one spring break in March," she said.
Steamboat Springs School Board member Denise Connelly said she would like to examine the impacts of these changes on absenteeism in the schools.
"I'm not saying this is a problem of one side or another or staff, but this is a very big concern and issue in our district," she said.
The calendar for the 2010-11 school year, initially presented along with next year's calendar, was withheld from receiving final approval during Monday's School Board meeting.
The 2009-10 school year calendar, which was approved by the board, will see classes begin Aug. 24 and end June 4, with two weeks for winter break, one week for blues break and one week for spring break.
Teachers will report Aug. 17 and have a total of 12 staff work days and 185 contract days, while students will have 173 days of classes, the same number as the 2008-09 year.
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