School day will change

Re-1 settles on new structure for academic year

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Students and teachers in Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 will not only have to get used to a five-day school schedule next year, but will also need to adjust to a much later start time at the secondary level and an earlier time at the elementary schools.

Chief Academic Officer Lori Haukeness for Re-1 met with school principals Thursday afternoon to discuss how the school day would be structured for students.

Elementary students will be in school from 8 a.m to 3 p.m. and the buses will have students to their respective schools by 7:40 a.m.

Haukeness said the big advantage to this schedule compared to last year, when school started at 8:30 a.m., is that students will now be allowed to have breakfast in the school cafeteria.

Last year, because everything had to fit into four days, students wanting breakfast had to eat the meals in the classrooms.

Haukeness said the elementary students will now be able to have hot breakfasts, which she said was nearly impossible when the meals were delivered to the classrooms.

The secondary school start time for the 2012-13 school year was pushed forward to 9 a.m. from the old starting time of 7:30 a.m. Secondary students next year will be released at 4:10 p.m.

Haukeness said the impetus behind the late start time was because research showed high school students learn more efficiently and better later in the day.

Both elementary and secondary students will be let out 90 minutes earlier than normal on Wednesdays to allow teachers more time to collaborate with each other and for paraprofessional training.

The district chose to have the additional training in the middle of the week over the end of the week due to concerns that students could decide to not attend the shortened day on Friday to give them a long weekend.

Haukeness said the biggest discussion item with the principals was to ensure the new bus times lined up with the new start times for school.

Included in the high school schedule is a zero seventh hour where students struggling in particular subjects can work with teachers to get them up to speed.

Haukeness also said the high school will combine classes back to back for students in band and possibly agriculture because more time is needed for these courses.

Requirements on the number of credits needed for graduation have been changed because the number of credits that can be earned is less now than what was needed when the district was on a four-day school week schedule.

Students in the class of 2013 need to attain 26 credit hours to graduate, which includes four years in English and three years in math, science and social studies as well as one year in physical education and a half year in health.

Students in the classes of 2014, 2015 and 2016 need to earn 24 credit hours to graduate with the same breakdown on the required courses with electives dropping from 11.5 to 9.5 credit hours.

One change in last years’s calendar to the 2012-13 calendar is the number of days students and teachers would get off for Thanksgiving.

Last year, teachers received the entire week of Thanksgiving, but two of those days were furlough days, meaning teachers were unpaid for not working on Nov. 21-22.

According to the upcoming calendar, teachers will still be off for the entire week for Thanksgiving, but there will be no mandatory furlough days.

Another small change in the new calendar is that the high school graduation will move to the last Saturday of the month from Thursday.

Reach Michael Maresh at michaelm@cortezjournal.com