CCSD decision: four- or five-day school week

Officials mull families’ reception to such a change

Deb Hurley Brobst
dbrobst@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 3/23/21

The Clear Creek school board and district officials are trying to wrap their heads around the issues surrounding a potential move to a four-day school week. They began official discussions in the …

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CCSD decision: four- or five-day school week

Officials mull families’ reception to such a change

Posted

The Clear Creek school board and district officials are trying to wrap their heads around the issues surrounding a potential move to a four-day school week.

They began official discussions in the last two weeks including task force reports and listening sessions with parents to hear comments and concerns and to find answers to the many questions arising about the issue.

Board members Kelly Flenniken and Erica Haag, who have elementary school age children, said they were struggling with finding a direction for the school district. One of the main issues with a four-day school week is finding worthwhile activities for students on the fifth day and determining who would pay for them.

“One of the things that is concerning me today,” Flenniken said at the March 15 school board meeting, “is if we have teachers working and providing tutoring, and the buildings are open, then as a parent, I wonder why we’re not in school on the fifth day. We need to talk through a rationale if we’re going to do this.”

Haag agreed.

“If I can’t make up my mind, how can I make up my mind for families in the district?” she asked.

The district is considering implementing a pilot four-day week that would run from January through May 2022, and if it ran the pilot program, whether all schools would participate.

Superintendent Karen Quanbeck said it was imperative to have parents on board with whatever the district did because the district can’t survive a significant loss of families.

“If done right and done well, we could actually attract families,” she said.

A benefit of the four-day week is the extra time teachers have to plan, Quanbeck said.

“Teachers want and need this,” Quanbeck told the school board at the March 11 work session, noting that when she took the superintendent position 20 months ago, she was asked to explore a four-day school week option. “We have to do something differently if I expect teachers to shift their teaching to more experiential learning.”

Sixty-two percent of school districts in Colorado, 111 out of 178, use a four-day week model including the Gilpin County School District.

“As we have done our research,” Quanbeck said, “the first year is the most challenging. Families get stressed trying to figure it out. But after the first year, the majority don’t want to go back to a five-day week. We have to be prepared to over-support our families for fifth-day care and see where they land in terms of needs.”

While the district is looking at several school calendar scenarios, it is considering lengthening the school day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for middle school and high school, and 8:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. for elementary school. Approximately two weeks would be added to the calendar.

District officials agreed that more research and discussion were needed before the board was ready to make a decision.

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