Aspen schools use up snow days |

Aspen schools use up snow days

John Colson
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” There will be no more “free” snow days for students in the Aspen School District. For the balance of this school year, if the district must cancel school for any additional days because of snow or other weather conditions, that day will have to be made up in some way before the end of the school year, according to district officials.

Superintendent Diana Sirko said Tuesday that the district built in about three days worth of “cushion” in its 2007-08 calendar, providing wiggle room for snow days but still meeting the state’s requirements for the number of hours students spend in class with their teachers.

The state requires that students in grades 7-12 put in 1,080 hours of instructional time over the course of a year. Students in grades 1-6 are required to put in 990 hours.

“At this point, we have used up our cushion,” Sirko confirmed.

She noted that the high school students traditionally have a special “final schedule” for the last week of classes, during which their school days end at 1:30 p.m. That week of shortened days, she said, likely is to be eliminated this year in order to meet the state’s requirements.

Also, she said, it is possible that the last day of classes now will be June 5, which was scheduled as a teacher work day, according to the calendar adopted by the school board. The last day of classes, according to the adopted calendar, was to have been June 4.

Other possible changes to accommodate future snow days, Sirko said, could include adding “a few minutes to each day, or the cancellations of teacher service days or early release days.

“You might have to explore all those things,” she said of the various options, if more school days are called off because of snow.

This particularly is true, she said, because winter is nowhere near over.

“We still have some of the snowiest times of the year ahead of us,” Sirko noted, referring to March, traditionally the heaviest month of the winter for local snow accumulations.

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