Aspen teachers weigh in on student performances |

Aspen teachers weigh in on student performances

ASPEN – If the impetus for changing the Aspen public school calendar is student regression over the long summer break, teachers might disagree.

According to a survey of teachers conducted last week, only 10 percent believed that the time spent reviewing material with students after returning from summer break was of “great concern.” Another 23 percent said the review time was of “some concern.” The majority, 67 percent of respondents, felt that the time spent reviewing material was of “very little or no concern.” Seventy-four percent of teachers responded to the survey.

The survey was conducted after Aspen Superintendent John Maloy met twice with teachers at each school to talk about student performance. While the meetings were prompted by the ongoing school calendar debate, they were not focused on the school calendar. (The school board has had preliminary discussions about possibly changing the school calendar from a traditional September-June model to one that comprises a nine-week on, two-week off schedule with a seven-week summer break, or some variation therein.)

Rather, Maloy said he wanted to learn from teachers what challenges they face and what possible solutions might be.

“What was important was to look at the big picture,” Maloy said. “And what the results showed are that the challenges and solutions can be quite broad.”

Among the suggestions teachers gave to lessen the time spent reviewing material after summer were summer school, “jump start” programs, and more time on task.

The information gathered in the teacher survey is now in the school board’s hands for consideration as they decide which direction to take the school calendar debate.

“This is really an issue for the board, as they are the ones who raised the question of improving student performance and how that meshes with the school calendar,” Maloy said. “But from a superintendent’s perspective, I believe there are avenues within the instructional day and school year that we can use to assist kids – all kids, not just struggling kids.

“Whether we look at a traditional calendar or some type of alternative calendar, it is only one piece of this puzzle.”

The next step in the school calendar debate is a public forum at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19, in the Aspen High School seminar room. According to Maloy, the meeting is intended to be a chance for the community to share with the school board new information, concerns or questions about the school calendar; the goal is not to rehash previous debates. More information on what has already been discussed can be found at

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