The Dolores school board debated the school calendar at length Feb. 13, then tabled a decision until community input could be gathered.
The board approved a three-year calendar last year, but it requires annual approval. However, Superintendent Lis Richard asked that the board consider alternative schedules that could provide time for additional staff development.
Board members voted 4-1 to table the decision until a special meeting Feb. 27. Clay Tallmadge was the lone dissenter.
Three options garnered board discussion.
The first option, approved by the board Feb. 14, 2019, has 166 student days and 181 staff days, a start date of Aug. 4 for teachers and Aug. 11 for students, an end date of May 20 for students and May 21 for teachers, and a spring break of March 15-19.The second option, according to the Dolores website, has 160 student days and 175 staff days, a start date of Aug. 12 for teachers and Aug. 24 for students, an end date of May 27 for students and May 28 for teachers, and a spring break of March 26 to April 1.The third option, a proposed four-day schedule, has 144 student days and 161 staff days, a start date of Aug. 12 for teachers and Aug. 24 for students, an end date of May 27 for students and May 28 for teachers, no school on Fridays, and a spring break of March 29 to April 2.The modified schedules would place professional development days strategically throughout the year, Richard said, to help teachers during crunch periods such as grading and new quarters.
Schedules might include a “boot camp” on project-based learning at the beginning of the school year, she said.
All three options meet state requirements for school days, and when asked by board member Lenetta Shull, Richard clarified that salaries would remain the same regardless of the schedule.
Richard favored Option 2 because of its opportunity for staff development, but said she had included the four-day option out of consideration for staff.
“Our district isn’t ready to go to four days yet,” she said.
Many districts in Colorado have gone to a four-day week to recruit and retain teachers in lieu of pay increases.
Richard encouraged the board to settle on the number of teacher workdays so administrators could go forward with contract negotiations.
Board members agreed to aim for one of the modified schedules. Maegan Crowley said she thought the current approved start date was too early, especially because of previous heating problems at school facilities.
Board President Kay Phelps suggested the district keep a four-day schedule on its future radar because of its potential for teacher planning.
“It is nice to see that every other Friday, teachers are going to show up, and they’ll have this really great block of time to do some dedicated planning,” she said.
However, some board members wanted additional community input before changing the approved schedule.
Board member Casey McClellan was especially vocal about reaching out to parents and community members before approving a new schedule. He proposed approving the current calendar, then amending it or working toward a modified calendar.
“With the idea that we will work with this, send it out, so that the community and parents have a chance to look at it, and then come up with the best situation,” he said.
Ultimately, the board opted to table the decision until a special meeting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Input is being gathered and can be shared online at the Dolores schools website.
Other newsThe board unanimously approved a motion to move sixth grade from the elementary to secondary school. The sixth grade team was supportive of the shift, according to staff, saying that it would be easier to comply with state educational standards and allow students to play middle school sports.The board unanimously approved the official composition of its principal hiring committees. The committee will include the district superintendent, the elementary school principal, a secondary administrative representative, a district office human resources representative, two secondary teachers (determined by a lottery drawing), and two secondary parents (also determined by a lottery drawing).The board unanimously approved the $40,000 purchase of 0.58 acres on the corner of North 14th Street and Hillside Avenue from the town of Dolores. The plot will likely be used for parking, Richard email@example.com