Snow days lead to tweaks in Aspen school calendar for next year |

Snow days lead to tweaks in Aspen school calendar for next year

Crisis communication protocols are improving for Aspen schools.
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The Aspen School Board is adding four instructional days to the 2023-24 school year calendar to make up for potential snow days.

Although the 2023-24 calendar was adopted last year, the calendar committee made the change due to the high number of snow days they have had during this school year, District Communications Specialist Monica Mendoza said.

The calendar committee is made up of representatives from each school, a representative from the International Baccalaureate program, Superintendent Dave Baugh, Assistant Superintendent Tharyn Mulberry, and one of the school-board members.

In addition to the four days added to the calendar, the school board voted to eliminate three professional development days and replace them with six early release days on Sept. 27, Dec. 13, Jan. 24, Feb. 28, April 24, and May 22.

Spring break was reduced by one day, and spring conferences were eliminated, as well.

This totals to 173 instructional days for the 2023-24 school year, compared to 170 days in the current school year.

“This brings us into alignment with another school district in the county and allows us to fall into better alignment with the other districts in the Roaring Fork Valley,” Baugh said.

Board Assistant Secretary and Assistant Treasurer Katy Frisch brought up a concern with cancelling spring conferences because they are a time for high-school students to discuss picking their schedules for the next school year.

Baugh said they will circle back to the high school and ensure there is a smooth course selection process for the next year.

“It might just be a note from a teach in a subject area to the parent and the student on what (the teacher’s) recommendation is,” Frisch said.

The board asked for the total hours of instruction and the start and finish times to be added to the calendar document, along with noting the date of high-school graduation.

Two proposed 2024-25 school year calendars were also reviewed by the board, which Mendoza said will be presented for approval next month. The calendar committee has two proposed calendars in the work — Calendar A and Calendar B.

According to Baugh, the largest differences between the calendars are the start and finish dates for the school year. Calendar A proposes starting school on Aug. 15, and Calendar B proposes starting on Aug. 7.

“It also aligns with Roaring Fork (School District); it’s better for our IB programming, and it allows students to finish their final exams before the winter holidays,” he said.

Both calendars would have more instructional days than previous years. Calendar A would have 176 instructional days and Calendar B would have 175.

A change to the current school-year calendar, which would eliminate a professional development day for Aspen High School, was also approved by the board. The May 30 professional development day will now be an instructional day to make up for the closure of the high school on Feb. 8 due to a potential gas leak. The professional development day will remain for the middle school and elementary school.

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