Since school has started, temperatures in Denver have been in the high 90's and most DPS classrooms have no air conditioning. It appears unlikely that future Augusts will be cooler. There are reports of classroom temperatures reaching as high as 105 degrees, at times forcing classes to be held outside. Not surprisingly, school offices are seeing significant increases in cases of heat exhaustion, dehydration and headaches. In our discussion with teachers, most would certainly prefer a later start date and the corresponding improved classroom environment. We understand the pressures for higher test scores create a desire for more preparation time. But a comfortable learning environment should be an important consideration. Are we getting much out of this advanced start time? Hot and thirsty children do not learn particularly well.
We urge the DPS Board of Education and Superintendent Tom Boasberg to change DPS's start date in order for the academic year to begin after Labor Day.
Please make the physical well being of our children and optimal learning conditions a priority when considering school schedules.
We’ve had some positive movement with our petition that we’d like to share with you. After 3000 signatures from our petition were presented to the DPS Board of Education this September, the unbearable conditions inside DPS schools this last August became an issue that could no longer be ducked. Under this pressure, Superintendent Boasberg formed the Start Date Task Force. This committee was made up of parents, teachers and community members. They were asked to recommend a solution to the temperature problem and just recently, reported back to DPS with the results from a survey they had commissioned. The results found a majority of parents, teachers and students favored a later school start date.
Today, we learned from local media, Superintendent Boasberg supports the Task Force’s recommendation of pushing back the school start day and will propose a change in the school schedule to the Board of Education. While this is encouraging news, it was also indicated that the start date might be pushed back only one week, not the two weeks for which we explicitly petitioned. Being that the 4th week of August, on average, is actually warmer than the 3rd week, we feel a one week push back is not a real solution. Before the DPS BOE votes on this issue, let them know we want more than a symbolic gesture. We feel, if the well being of our kids and teachers is the top priority, school should start when the heat breaks, after Labor Day. Please help us spread the word and gather more signatures for our final push. Pass along the petition via Facebook, twitter, email, etc.. Your support, your signature, making your voice heard……it matters.
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