PSD staff make headway on implementing bell schedule changes

PSD staff make headway on implementing bell schedule changes

Nearly two months after the Board of Education’s decision to adopt new school bell schedules, PSD staff members continue the hard work of implementing changes that begin in August and affect students, families, PSD employees and community members. The following updates concern school schedules, BASE Camp, athletics and extracurricular activities, and busing. These changes will be implemented for the 2019-20 school year.

Modifying start and end times at nearly all PSD schools is a complex process that involves everything from mapping bus routes for the nearly 13,000 students transported by PSD daily across the 1,800- square-mile district to coordinating the extracurricular, lunch and athletics schedules at each school. We know this is a significant change. Clear communication of timely information is critical for families making plans for the next school year.

School Bell Schedules |Parents and guardians of elementary students can expect to be able to check with their elementary school roughly by late-February for more information about that school’s schedule for the 2019-20 school year. This includes approximate times for classes, lunches and BASE Camp before- and after-school childcare options, at applicable schools.

Similarly, middle and high school principals are working collaboratively to develop schedules that work best for their communities. Some schools have settled on a mostly final schedule, while others are still researching options and getting feedback from stakeholders. Master schedules are set by principals, not by the District. For that reason, it is best that families reach out to their schools with a specific schedule- related questions. The projected start and end times for all schools that receive regular PSD busing can be found on the PSD website at bit.ly/PSDbellschedulechanges. PSD plans to study the impacts of the schedule changes in the first year of implementation, and use what’s learned to consider future plans.

BASE Camp| BASE Camp offers fee-based before- and after-school care at many PSD schools. There are also other childcare options in our community. Contrary to some misconceptions, PSD does not own or operate BASE Camp. As is standard practice for the organization, BASE Camp is working to revise programming to best support PSD families to accommodate the new bell schedules. Schools may be prepared to share information about BASE Camp’s proposed 2019-20 fees with families in or around late-February. We encourage families who use BASE Camp services or those considering using BASE Camp services to reach out to BASE Camp directly with questions. More information: www.mybasecampkids.org or 970-266-1734.

Athletics and Extracurricular Activities | Using the new projected start and end times as they are known now, each school will determine how its athletics and extracurricular schedules will shift. Students and families can plan to check with their schools’ athletics director around early April to get more information about school-specific athletic programs. In general, athletics practices across PSD will take place between 4:30 to 9 p.m. for indoor programs, and 4:30 p.m. to sundown for outdoor programs. Please note, as with other aspects of the plan, much of this work is actively underway and likely is not solidified, as staff is evaluating dozens of factors and questions on a school-by-school, sport-by-sport basis.

It is possible that some athletics and extracurricular activities will take place later in the afternoon. It is also possible that practices will be condensed and that some athletic and extracurricular offerings may occur in the morning before school. Considerations range from how facilities could be shared; how best to incorporate past practices and promotion of safe and healthy practice settings; meeting the needs of teams currently without access to lighted fields; missed class time due to games; and more. Should it be decided that certain outdoor PSD facilities require field lighting, there would be costs associated with their purchase, installation and ongoing maintenance. As has been the case in the past, the Front Range League will continue to set game schedules.

Busing and Transportation | If your student is currently receiving regular PSD busing to school, this will continue. It is likely the times your child is picked up and dropped off by the bus will change. PSD traditionally releases its bus schedules each year in August. PSD anticipates releasing finalized pick-up and drop-off times again in August, and sincerely appreciates the community’s patience as we plan for this significant change. In the past, PSD has sent bus route schedules sooner than August and had to recall and update the information because of changes that occur in the weeks preceding the start of school, as new students move into PSD. We want to ensure accuracy as best as possible and not put families in a position where they’re making decisions informed by outdated information. It’s important to note that PSD will continue busing students to Centennial High School and continue evaluating options for those enrolled in courses at Front Range Community College. Those with specific questions may call Transportation at 970-490-3232.

Q: I have specific thoughts regarding the decision to change bell schedules. What is the appropriate manner or place in which to share this feedback? A: You may contact all directors on the Board of Education at boe@psdschools.org, about this or any other topics concerning PSD. School board meetings are also open to the public and include a time designated for community comment. More information: bit.ly/PSDschoolboard

Q: How can I stay up-to-date on the changes related to PSD’s new school bell schedules, beginning in August? We encourage families to reach out first to their respective schools with questions, as many decisions about schedules, electives and more are happening at the schools with their communities. You may also refer to the PSD webpage bit.ly/PSDbellschedulechanges. There, you’ll find current information about the new bell schedules, and the exploration process that preceded the Board’s decision. If you haven’t yet, be sure to like PSD’s Facebook page, and follow the district on Twitter, Instagram, and on PSDTV Comcast Channel 10 or on YouTube.

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