Parents riled over new school calendar | SteamboatToday.com

Parents riled over new school calendar

Zach Fridell

— A group of parents are gearing up to contest a proposed change to the Hayden School District calendar for next year. A proposal to begin the 2009-10 school year two days earlier goes before the Hayden School Board on Wednesday night.

Superintendent Greg Rockhold will present the new calendar, which includes a full week for Thanksgiving break and starts school Sept. 3 – the week before Labor Day.

A group of 14 parents are upset about the potential change and sent a signed letter to the Pilot & Today protesting it.

“We don’t believe that most people in the community have had a chance to evaluate this calendar, and many don’t realize that the new calendar will have a new start date,” the letter states. It was signed by Dennis and Laurie Hallenbeck, Lori Laird, Ernest Archuleta, Jackie Hayes, Rebecca Ferrier and others.

Jill Delay, a parent who was involved with scheduling discussions in the past but who did not sign the letter, said starting before Labor Day would rob families of the final days of summer.

“That is the last hurrah of the summer before school starts, and you’re trying to get everything done,” she said.

Recommended Stories For You

Delay said her family typically goes camping or shopping during Labor Day.

Rockhold said he welcomes public input during the board meeting Wednesday night. During that meeting, the board will have the option to approve the schedule. Members of the public also will have a chance to speak.

Rockhold said he and the administrative team proposed making Thanksgiving break a full week instead of the typical three days because the two days students are in school that week are not productive.

“To ensure that our kids are getting the most bang for their buck, it was brought up that everyone’s geared toward Thanksgiving and this week is really not that productive, how can we better use our time productively?” he said.

Rockhold said he discussed the changes with the three building principals and found that the staff, with the exception of some Hayden Valley Elementary School teachers, supported the change.

“A good 80 percent of our staff, overall, said, ‘Shoot yeah,'” he said.

Rockhold said he decided to add the additional days from Thanksgiving to the beginning of the year because the first few days of class are taken up by going over school rules and distributing textbooks, and he would like to make the first week after Labor Day as useful as possible.

In the letter, the parents stated that “starting two days before the Labor Day weekend is questionable as far as educational value.”

The South Routt School Board approved a calendar at a March 19 meeting that will start classes Aug. 25. The Steamboat Springs School Board will vote on a proposed calendar at an April 13 meeting that calls for starting class Aug. 31.

Steamboat’s proposed calendar includes three days for Thanksgiving break, while South Routt plans to take an entire week.

Breath check

Rockhold said he also will recommend that the School Board postpone plans to use a Breathalyzer at the Hayden High School Prom this year until more details in the plan can be figured out.

“I’m going to recommend the board keep it on the burners, but take no action on it,” he said. “Prom’s around the corner, and we don’t want to rush it.”

He said the policies still are being tweaked and administrators are talking to lawyers to ensure the district is prepared when the breath tests are implemented.

Hayden High School principal Troy Zabel first suggested the use of breath tests to deter students from drinking before prom.

– To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com

Proposed calendar

For the 2009-10 school year

Key dates:

Sept. 3 First day of school

Sept. 7 Labor Day

Sept. 25 No school

Oct. 9 Teacher in-service

Oct. 23 No school

Nov. 13 No school

Nov. 23 to 27 Thanksgiving break

Dec. 11 No school

Dec. 21 to Jan. 1 Winter break

Jan. 15 No school

Jan. 29 Teacher in-service

Feb. 12 No school

Feb. 26 No school

March 5 No school

March 19 No school

March 22 to 26 Spring break

April 9 No school

May 23 Graduation

May 27 Last day for students

If you go

What: Hayden School Board meeting

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday

Where: School Board Meeting Room

Agenda

Call to order

Requests to address the board

Reports – Board requested, principal, superintendent

Discussion – Use of Breathalyzers, early graduation request

Action – Early graduation requests, school safety and security task force, 2009-10 calendar

Executive session

Personnel

Adjourn

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.