2017-18 Draft Calendar
The staff committee for the 2017/18 school calendar looked at Ridgway's calendar as well as our past calendars. The philosophy of our school has always been to provide the best possible opportunity for our students to succeed. We considered making our schedule the same as Ridgway's calendar; however, there were some philosophical differences between our schools. We chose to look at the 2015/16 calendar before construction. The committee also was not ready to adopt a two-year calendar so they chose to adopt a one-year calendar and revisit the vacations for the 2018/19 school year.
First semester: A few years ago we switched to having our first semester end before winter break. To accomplish this we had to look at the first semester days so that we could schedule enough days for our college and one-semester courses to get the curriculum completed. The feedback that we received indicated that people wanted a week at Thanksgiving which affects the days in first semester and the start date. This year there is an UnBOCES (Educational Services in the Uncompahgre Valley of Western Colorado) -wide training at the beginning of the year that we also had to consider. Additionally, we had feedback that for the most part the staff liked going closer to winter before the winter holiday and have more time after rather than having to come back the day after New Years. This also helps with the first semester day count so winter break starts December 22nd.
Second semester always has more days but we have a lot of interruptions to the fourth quarter. We have trips and testing that take weeks out of instruction.
Looking at the calendar it might be confusing why we come back from winter break to two four-day weeks. There are two reasons for this: our students feel very strongly about Martin Luther King Day and there are a stated number of professional development days a district is required to have. Our students felt it was more important to honor Martin Luther King. The holiday does not fit into the schedule from strictly a day- by- day point of view but we wanted to honor the students’ input. Next is parent/ teacher conferences. The philosophy of where we schedule these in the school year is different than other districts. Testing is also an issue that plays into the schedule. The state gives us a testing window; if we take a later spring break we risk not getting all of tests done. Currently, it takes three weeks to complete testing because of students who miss taking their tests during the scheduled time. If we move the spring break later it leaves us only two weeks to complete testing.
One item that is on the list to consider next year for the 18-19 school calendar will include grouping our days off into longer stretches of time. Instead of taking one day here and there, we will consider taking the days off in a group so maybe it is a four- or five-day break. Other issues will include starting the school day at a later time and going later in the day and aligning the breaks with Ridgway.
The committee felt it was best to adopt a similar calendar and do more research on some of the requests that were presented. Every change has a chain reaction and more information needs to be processed before major changes are made. The committee therefore recommended to adopt the calendar as presented and revisit the other suggestions in the 2018/19 school year.