DENVER - Denver Public Schools leaders want to add an hour to the school day for all traditional middle schools beginning this fall, and the proposal is meeting with resistance from some parents.
Concerns about the initiative are also coming from the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, which has yet to approve what it sees as a change to the terms of its current collective bargaining agreement.
Several district middle schools conducted informational sessions last Thursday and some parents who attended say they were presented with a decision and not a discussion.
"I really feel deceived by DPS," said Hamilton Middle School parent Julie Mahoney. "We all thought this was up for discussion, something being entertained. But it was decided without input from families. It was, essentially, what they have decided."
Another Hamilton parent, Carla Witt, had a similar reaction.
"I thought this was to discuss the idea of an extended day - and then, they tell you: this is happening. So there really was no discussion," said Witt.
"It's offensive, in that I have a lot of thoughts about this, as did a lot of people there."
Traditional DPS middle schools currently operate on a schedule of 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; an added hour would keep most students in school to 3:30 p.m..
Hamilton Principal Reina Gutierrez denied that parents were presented with a done deal.
However, Gutierrez said, "The idea is for the school to go to an extended day," although many issues need to be resolved, such as scheduling and securing teachers' union support.
"The buy-in is there from myself as a principal, but it's too early to say it's carved in stone," she said. "But we are working toward that end."
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