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The Clear Creek School District is ready to roll out its four-day school week beginning in August, and in response to parent concerns, it has a plan for fifth-day enrichment activities.
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The district calls it the COMPASS Day, which will provide time for extended learning, work-based learning and family time.
COMPASS stands for:
• Choices in
• Outdoor education: dive deeper into the outdoors;
• Metro and mountain expeditions: field trips to Denver and the mountains;
• Passion projects: extracurricular activities, athletic events, classes and independent projects;
• Academic achievement: tutoring, STEAM activities and college classes;
• Student internships/jobs: exploring professional pathways;
• Special family time: family excursions and leisure time.
Morning programs on the fifth day will be free for families, paid for by a grant, while afternoon programs will have small costs associated with them. District staff members are still working on the specifics, and students are not required to participate in fifth-day programs.
In addition, the school board will discuss the 2022-23 calendar year, including which day of the week will be the fifth day, at its meeting at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 10. District officials say the school day will be longer, and the school year will be extended by a couple weeks.
Superintendent Karen Quanbeck said at the Jan. 18 school board meeting that instruction time will increase with the four-day school week because educators feel that is a priority.
She noted that the first year of the four-day school week will be the most difficult as families, staff and the community figure out new schedules and routines, adding that the district will find solutions as issues arise.
“We can see the change will be challenging,” said Calvin Berg, a Clear Creek High School teacher who is serving on the four-day task force. “What I know is that if we open our minds and think about what we are trying to do for children, it will really help with the transition.”
Berg graduated from the Gilpin County School District, which has had a four-day school week for decades, and he quipped that he turned out OK.
Clear Creek is tapping into parents who have skills that could be turned into student learning experiences on the fifth day.
“Parents are really excited about designing programs,” said Dacia Kelly, career connections coordinator and fifth day designer. “We hope and expect to engage our community in design sessions. One of the things that makes Clear Creek unique is our varied residents, and this will let students see what the community has to offer.”
Members of the four-day task force and district officials reiterated that the change is not a move to save the district money or to provide staff with a three-day weekend.
“This will provide a consistent, predictable time for professional learning and planning, which is essential for delivering the highest quality teaching and learning and a more predictable school calendar,” Quanbeck said.
She said it wasn’t fair to ask teachers to do the intensive work to redesign curriculum after a long day at school or during a short planning period.
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