DENVER – Most Aurora Public Schools students will start their Mondays an hour later than normal beginning in January to give teachers more time to plan as the district deals with staffing shortages.
APS Superintendent Rico Munn sent a letter to district families Friday notifying them of the changes.
“Many teachers have expressed concerns about lack of planning time because they have been providing additional coverage for classrooms to address the substitute shortage,” Munn wrote. “We need to be as proactive as possible in addressing these challenges, which is why we are implementing late-start Mondays after Winter Break for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade.”
Most schools will start one hour later than their typical bell times on Mondays but will be on the normal schedule for the rest of the week. Buses will also pick students up from their stops one hour later than normal, Munn said.
But preschool students at both elementary schools and Child Development Centers, Pickens Technical College and ACTION Zone schools (Crawford, Paris, Boston P-8, AWCPA and Aurora Central) will all start at their normal times on Mondays.
“By giving our teachers more planning and professional development time, this proactive step is intended to allow us to keep our learning environments intact and minimize disruption to our schools,” Munn wrote in his letter. He said the district chose Mondays for the late start day because there are 15 of them on the calendar for the second semester.
“We recognize that many families will need to make alternative childcare arrangements for Monday mornings, so we wanted to inform you of this change as quickly as possible,” Munn wrote in his letter to district families. “Please know that we did not make this decision lightly and we thank you for your continued support.”
Staffing and substitute teacher shortages have been widespread across the country and Front Range this fall.
Denver Public Schools took the Friday before Thanksgiving break off to give teachers and staffers a break and time for “health and self-care.” And three DPS schools had to switch to remote learning earlier in November because of staff shortages.
Boulder Valley schools canceled classes on a Friday in November because of staffing challenges, as did Adams 14 and Adams 12 schools, and districts including Brighton 27J have had to bring in bus drivers from other departments.
“Staffing shortages have impacted nearly every industry including public education,” Munn wrote. “In fact, you may have seen media reports about schools and district across the country that have needed to close schools for a day or two recently due to these staffing and substitute shortages. We recognize that these shortages have also put additional strain on teachers and school staff.”