Dr. Harry Bull covered a lot of ground on Feb. 8 without ever leaving the Student Achievement Resource Center. For the second consecutive year, he was the featured speaker at the February Parents’ Council meeting during an increasingly popular session called “Ask the Superintendent.”
“Dr. Bull, I have 12 pages of single-spaced questions,” said Dr. Scott Siegfried, Associate Superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools, who moderated the session.
The questions were submitted by parents and community members and covered a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from recess and open high school campuses to sports and Watch Dog Dads.
By far, the most questions were submitted about school start times. The district is considering changing school start times to better align with adolescent sleep patterns. Bull explained that in 2010, during an economic downturn when the state drastically cut school funding, the district was forced to change start times for purely financial reasons.
“Now we are able to look at what is really in the best interest of students and student learning,” Bull said.
More than 25,000 people responded to a fall 2016 survey about start times or have submitted feedback about the current proposal, which will be presented to the Board of Education on Feb. 13. The proposal recommends that, starting with the 2017-18 school year, elementary schools begin at 7:55 a.m., followed by high schools at 8:15 a.m. and middle schools at 8:50 a.m. You can read the proposal and get detailed information about it here.
Bull was also asked about school calendars. He said that in the near future the district will look at moving Pine Ridge Elementary off of a four track calendar. At a later date, the district will also evaluate whether seven schools currently on transitional calendars could move to traditional calendars.
Questions were also asked about national and politically charged issues, including guns in schools and the new Secretary of Education. Bull said he is not in favor of the former, feeling that the potential risks greatly outweigh the potential rewards. As far as Betsy DeVos, who was approved as Secretary of Education on Feb. 8, Bull said he doesn’t yet know what impact she will have on public schools.
The next Parents’ Council meeting will be held on Wed., March 8 at the Student Achievement Resource Center, located at 14188 E. Briarwood Avenue, Centennial, 80112. The topic will be “Psychological wellness in CCSD: Building social emotional skills to address student needs and support 21st century learning.” For more information, visit http://www.ccparentscouncil.org/.