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Students to Get 12 More Days in Classroom, Community Meeting Planned

teacher providing instruction

Westminster Public School students will have the opportunity to extend their school year to Friday, June 11, to make up for the negative impact COVID-19 has had on student learning.

The school year was originally scheduled to end on Tuesday, May 25.

A record number of parents and guardians responded to a recent survey with about two-thirds of them saying they thought the proposal was a good idea. One parent expressed the views of many, writing, “I am so thankful WPS is considering this as an option. Students didn’t gain what they should’ve while learning remotely and this would be a great opportunity to get closer to that goal.”

Other parents said they appreciated the gesture, but thought their children needed a break.  “These kids need summer to recharge from the stress of last year,” one person wrote.

The district also reached out to staff asking employees to identify what time frame would work best for them. They were asked to consider working four-day weeks that would take them further into June or if they would like to start the next school year earlier. Staff had a strong preference for continuing the school year through June 11.

Students will not be required to attend, but Superintendent Dr. Pamela Swanson is encouraging every parent to take advantage of this unique opportunity. “This extended learning program is not aimed at any one group of students”, Swanson wrote in her most recent letter to the community. “The beauty of our Competency Based System is that every student can take full advantage of this time. A student who is behind his/her peers can catch up, while a high achieving student can continue to push themselves to the next level.”

Now that the community, as well as staff, have weighed in, individual schools are moving forward with plans.

Over the coming weeks, teachers and principals will reach out to parents to get a firm count of how many students will attend so schools can make the necessary staffing decisions.  New Federal COVID dollars will pay staff for their additional workdays.

As always during school, breakfast and lunch will be provided for all students.

On Monday, March 15 from 6-7 p.m. WPS will hold a Zoom meeting for the entire community. Details are still being finalized, and a link will be provided in the near future.