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Early release for Aspen students?

ASPEN – The Aspen School District is contemplating early-release Wednesdays for all students beginning next school year in an effort to save money and offer “collaborative time” for all teachers.

“You will probably start to hear rumblings about early-release Wednesdays. What we are looking at is not doing away with early release. Rather, we are looking at having it be districtwide,” Superintendent John Maloy said at Monday’s Aspen Board of Education meeting.

Currently, Aspen Elementary School students end their Wednesdays at 1:40 p.m.; middle and high school students have early-release days just four times during the school year. The regular school day ends at 3:10 p.m. for elementary school students and 3:15 p.m. for all others.



Under the proposed scenario, all students would be released about 2 p.m. Wednesdays. The time away from the classroom would be made up by modifying other parts of the school day for middle and high schoolers, such as shorter passing periods.

The reason for the proposed change is twofold, according to Maloy.



First, a districtwide early-release policy would save money. Finance director Kate Fuentes said at least $16,000 per year in transportation savings could be realized by having the same dismissal time for all students. Currently, school buses run their end-of-day routes twice on Wednesdays – first for elementary students and later for middle and high school students.

Equally, if not more important, though, is the benefit to teachers of having time at school without students in the building.

“When we talk about what is missing at the middle and high schools, we keep coming back to this notion of collaborative time,” Maloy said. “The elementary school has had great success in using this time to benefit students, and we believe that by doing a couple of things with the school-day schedule, we can create collaborative time for every building.”

District administrators plan to present a proposal for districtwide early-release Wednesdays, as well as other school calendar changes, to the Aspen Board of Education at its May 7 meeting.

jmcgovern@aspentimes.com


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