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School News



2019-20 and 2020-21 Calendar Information

We are pleased to share with you two full academic year calendars, 2019-20, and 2020-21. These calendars and the following planning methodology were created using your community survey feedback as well as extensive academic research.

Based on this feedback, we are seeking to create a consistent calendar for families so that they can know in advance what the basic structure of each year will be, including ending in a time that better fits with local summer enrichment opportunities. Our structural goals moving forward with calendar planning:

  • Start school on the second to last Wednesday in August
  • End school on the first Thursday in June
  • Create collaborative planning time for teachers
  • Evolve Parent-Teacher Conferences to focus on goal setting and enhancing the school-home partnership

We will have approximately 175 school days each year, depending on how holidays fall etc. Please read below for an explanation of the changes we made and why.

PDF of 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 CALENDARS

TEACHER PLANNING AND COLLABORATION: EARLY DISMISSALS

Research indicates that giving teachers more time to collaborate and plan both individually and with others  increases learning in the classroom. We must always focus on quality of teaching, which means giving our teachers the opportunity to work together across languages, grades, and subjects in order to create lessons that are rich with the complexity that promotes efficacy, engagement, problem solving, and critical thinking.These are not easy lessons to create. The need to have more collaborative time was echoed by both our International Baccalaureate and our French Ministry of Education visiting teams. We’ve included links to the research at the bottom of this page. 

In order to create such opportunities, ISDenver will now have early dismissal (12:00 noon) on seven first Fridays during the school year. In order to provide care / enrichment opportunities during these early release Fridays, we are now working to design camps as part of our Extended Day School program (some lasting one day and some meeting for all seven afternoons). Possibilities include service learning opportunities, enrichment and athletic activities. We also hope to offer camps in the target languages. The early releases will also allow families to begin their own activities and weekend drives sooner.  

We will have more information as the 2019-20 school year approaches.

Additional research on this methodology:

Time for Teacher Learning, Planning Critical for School Reform

Less is More: The Value of a Teacher's Time

Teacher Collaboration: How to Approach it in 2018

The Power of Teacher Collaboration

 

PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES: EXTENDED HOURS FOR WORKING FAMILIES

We have moved both the Fall and Spring Parent Teacher Conferences earlier in the school year. We feel strongly that we want the focus of these meetings to be on parents and teachers discussing the needs of each child and how we can work together to improve student learning. Meeting earlier will allow teachers to get a better understanding of each child from parents and to focus the meeting on goal setting for the year in the fall and goal review in the spring. 

We will pilot age-appropriate student involvement in these meetings to encourage our learners (even at an early age) to be active and engaged participants in their learning. We will work with our faculty to see how this looks at ISDenver. Once again, the focus is better teaching and learning using best practices.

To best balance the demand on teachers with the schedules of our parent community, conferences will be held on Thursday (1:00 PM - 6:30 PM) and Friday (7:30 AM - 11:30 AM). We will continue to have drop-in care.