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School board sets key dates

John ColsonAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN The Aspen School Board is still working on parts of the 2007-08 school calendar, but the most important dates – when school begins, when it lets out and when spring vacation starts – were decided at a meeting this week.School will begin Aug. 23 for high schoolers (grades 9-12), and Aug. 28 for the rest of the district students (grades K-8), following a vote of the board April 24.School will be out for summer on June 4, 2008, for grades K-11. High school graduation day is May 24, 2008.Spring Break will be March 24-28, 2008.Other than those dates, and vacation times built around traditional national holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, the calendar remains in flux, according to district officials.One issue still being worked on is whether the fall semester will end before the Christmas break, or if students will still have some of the fall term to complete when returning Jan. 7, 2008.The variables that will affect that scheduling decision have to do with such things as professional development days, or days when classes are not in session in order that teachers can take some time for course planning and other professional matters. Also in the mix are parent-teacher conference days.As the calendar has been discussed at recent board meetings, Superintendent Diana Sirko said giving students time off from classes can complicate the schedule, particularly since the state requires that students get a finite number of hours of direct instruction every year.According to Sirko, the state requires that students in grades K-6 receive 990 hours of actual classroom time, and that those in grades 7-12 receive at least 1,080 hours.The school day will begin at 8:10 a.m. for all grades, but end at 3:10 for grades K-4 and at 3:15 for grades 5-12.Early release times, as proposed at the April 24 board meeting, are as follows: For students in grades K-4, school will end every Wednesday at 1:45 p.m., to enable teachers to use the remaining hours of those days in planning sessions and other professional tasks. For students in grades 5-12, school would let out at 1:45 p.m. on the last Wednesday of the months of September, October, November, January, February and April.For more information regarding the 2007-08 calendar for the Aspen School District, call the district at 925-3760, or check out the district website at http://www.aspenk12.net and click on the line indicating “proposed 2007-2008 calendar here.”John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com


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