New Aspen High schedule now under way | AspenTimes.com

New Aspen High schedule now under way

Michael Mclaughlin
The Aspen Times

Beth Mondry reads a statement detailing parents' concerns about the scheduling system at Aspen High School as local school board member Bob Glah listens on Oct. 6. The school added some free time back into students' daily schedule on Oct. 27.

After agreeing at the most recent Board of Education meeting to bring back some scheduled free time for students to meet with teachers, Aspen High School Principal Kim Martin announced that a 20-minute free period would be implemented beginning Oct. 27 at the high school.

The free period runs from 9:35 to 9:55 a.m. every school day except Wednesdays.

Martin sent an email to high school parents explaining that after a collaborative effort involving students, teachers and administrators, a schedule revision was created and would take effect at the start of the second quarter.

"The parents said it was important," Martin said. "I had about a half-dozen meetings with teachers to talk about where to put the break in the schedule, how long it would be and develop some consensus on how to make this work. The teachers were very supportive and wanted the time, as well."

The new schedule includes four periods — first, second, seventh and eighth — that are reduced by five minutes each to create the new free period.

District officials expressed concerns with the high school math scores and boosted the math minutes at the school this fall in hopes of both improving the standardized-test results and helping the students be prepared for college-level math classes.

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While the math time went up, the free period was lost. Parents and students contacted the high school to voice their concerns, and the school responded.

Jackie Francis has two daughters at the high school and said both wanted to see a time created for an opportunity to talk with their instructors.

"It's so important to have some time to talk to your teachers," Francis said. "I certainly took advantage of those times when I was in school. I'm sure my daughters will, as well."

In the letter to the parents, Martin encouraged students to take advantage of the time to assist them in achieving academic excellence.

Martin said the overall process of making the schedule change was extremely positive.

"I really appreciated the collaboration with the teachers," Martin said. "I'm looking forward to more opportunities to work together to come up with more positive outcomes. As a learning organization, it's our No. 1 priority to create an environment of academic excellence and responsibility. We're looked at as one of the top high schools in Colorado, but that doesn't mean we can't get better. We're not No. 1 in the country."

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