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WCSD #7 Approves Alternative Calendar « Back to Search Results

By Gazette Reporter Brittany Trandahl

To begin the 2019- 2020 calendar discussion during the Weston County School District #7 (WCSD #7) Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, April 11, Superintendent Clark Coberly presented the trustees with the results from the recently held surveys. The survey asked participants to pick between two calendar options; a traditional 175 day calendar, similar to the one being utilized this year or an alternative calendar with a 4-day week.

Of the 69 responses to the parent/guardian sur- vey, 60 were in favor of the 4-day week calendar and nine were in favor of the 175 day option. The staff survey had similar results with 42 responses, 34 were in favor of the 4-day week alternative calendar and eight staff members chose the 175 day calendar. Students grades 5th through 11th were also surveyed. Of the 51 students that participated, 78.4% of students chose the 4-day week calendar and 21% were in favor of the current option.

Superintendent Coberly concluded by saying, “I’m still remaining impartial to this decision personally, but as your superintendent, I would suggest you move forward with the results of the survey and choose the alternative, 4-day calendar.”

The board then went on to discuss specifics and semantics of a possible 4-day week and what that might look like for our district. “We need to do everything we can to hold those four days sacred,” commented Trustee Mark Mitchell. “I’d also like to make sure that the Fridays are utilized to the best of our ability. I think that is really going to be the central idea of us moving forward with this."

Superintendent Coberly agreed with Mitchell’s statement, “We will certainly have to iron those Fridays out for things such as professional development and student interventions, based on need, staff hours, and other factors.”

“I’m pretty excited about trying something new," stated Chairman Woody Gaughenbaugh. “There’s going to be bumps and unexpected things, but there is a lot of positive feedback. I think it’s going to be a good step.”

Also in support of the alternative calendar, Trustee Ty Miller added “I think it’s an important step if we’re going to keep good teachers and hire good teachers. It will keep us competitive with the other districts that have switched.”

Trustee Diana White did express concern, especially for younger students, stating “I think a 5-day week is better overall for all students. The students like consistency.”

“We’re going to have to be really flexible and if something needs changed, we change it right away,” added Trustee Mitchell. “Hopefully the staff and students will let us know when or if they have is- sues.”

Trustee Curtis Rankin added that he was cautioned by staff members from a local district that has transitioned to a 4-day week to not schedule all extra circular and sporting activities on Fridays as then the students are forced to choose between events. Superintendent Coberly agreed that the district is working with all the same students in those activities and the amount of extra curriculars and activities that our district has to offer is huge. But they will work to not stockpile those on Fridays.

To end the discussion, Superintendent Coberly informed the Board that if the alternative calendar application is approved by the Wyoming Department of Education, they will be required to submit a follow-up survey next year which will include taking a hard look at data on absences and overall success of the transition. He also reminded the Board that this change would not be a convenience decision, but an educational one.

Ultimately, the WCSD #7 Board of Trustees approved with a four to one vote to submit an application to the Wyoming Department of Education for an alternative calendar of 150 student days with a 4-day school week for students. The final calendar has not been completed.