Tuesday marked the first day of the 2023-2024 school year for Jeffco Public Schools. For many students, the new year means a new school after the district closed 16 elementary schools at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.
Powderhorn Elementary School in Littleton is welcoming students from Colorow Elementary School, one of the campuses that closed because of low enrollment. Powderhorn will now have 566 students. Principal Tom Szczesny said that means there will be more resources for students.
“A full time counselor, which we didn’t have last year, more mental health support across the board,” Szczesny said.
Students will also have full time teachers for computer science, art, music and P.E.
To prepare for the transition, Powderhorn held several joint events with the Colorow community and paired kids up as pen pals.
The next phase of Jeffco’s school consolidation plan will involve middle schools. Superintendent Tracy Dorland said a recommendation on possible middle school closures will be presented to the Board of Education at the end of August.
“I do anticipate that this second phase and the recommendations coming this month to the board will be much smaller in scope and scale than last years recommendation,” Dorland said.
Over the summer, the board voted to merge Moore Middle School with Pomona High School in Arvada. Pomona will become a 6th-12th grade school beginning in the 2024-2025 school year. Dorland said it’s possible some of the other middle school consolidations will involve mergers with high schools, but final decisions haven’t been made.
Meanwhile one change for middle and high school students this year is a shift to later start times, which now range from between 8:05 and 9:00 a.m. Dismissal times range from 3:20 to 4:05 p.m. The change was made partly due to research on adolescent sleep. Elementary school start times shifted earlier to accommodate transportation and also to create more uniform school days.
“Some students were getting 30 minutes more a day than other students at a different school, so we’ve also brought that into alignment so there’s some equity in terms of the amount of time our students are spending learning every day,” Dorland said.
Beginning of school year Tuesday kicks off wave of changes for Jeffco students
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