(Pavillion, WY) – The Wind River school district has modified its 2022-23 academic calendar, to the consternation of some local families.
The changes, as compared to the current calendar, include a later start date – Aug. 23 instead of Aug. 16 – and a later end date – June 15 (June 1 for seniors) instead of May 26.
School days are shorter under the new calendar, too, ending at 3:16 p.m. instead of 3:50 p.m. – and Fridays are no longer included in the schedule, though Trustee Dawn Leonhardt has indicated that the Friday question is not yet settled.
The district added nine days to the calendar to make up for the shorter days, “as well as a change at the state level and how we can calculate the hours,” Leonhardt said.
She believes the calendar changes should benefit teachers and students alike.
“The new calendar shortens the staff day, (and) it was also a top request to have a shorter day for our littles especially,” she wrote, adding that, for older students, “If we let out earlier … we can actually begin to see some homework at the levels that it probably should be.”
The calendar committee included two board members, a secondary teacher, an elementary teacher, a school administrator, and the transportation coordinator, superintendent Troy Zickefoose said in a district message.
The committee met for the first time Feb. 8. Then, a preliminary three-question survey was made available to members of the district Feb. 12-20, drawing responses from 209 people including parents, staff and students in grades 6-11.
The committee met again Feb. 22, and on March 1, a public calendar meeting was held in the elementary school library. Zickefoose said information about the meeting was texted to parents, placed on the district calendar and publicized in Cougar News.
A second public calendar meeting took place March 2, and on March 3 another survey was sent out including example calendars. That survey was open through March 22 and garnered 105 responses from parents and staff, Zickefoose said.
The calendar committee met again March 9 to review feedback from the public meetings and surveys before choosing two “solid” calendars to present to the school board, endorsing one as the preference.
The board met March 14 and voted unanimously to accept the preferred calendar, which has been sent to the Wyoming Department of Education for consideration by the State Board of Education next month, Zickefoose said.
This week, several local families expressed concerns about the changes, which will be discussed during a meeting of the “Concerned families of Wind River Students” on Friday evening, April 1, at the Kinnear Fire Hall, 11521 U.S. Highway 26. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the meeting will take place 6:30-8 p.m.
Not just concerned families, but also concerned community members are encouraged to attend, organizers shared.