On Nov. 5, 2015, the Ideal School Day Task Force held a listening circle with 13 stakeholders, including parents, classroom teachers, specials teachers, principals and central staff. The purpose of the meeting was to listen and get advice from key representatives of our Boulder Valley community. At its Nov. 10 meeting, the task force members reviewed what they heard at the listening circle as they continued to develop recommendations.
Click here to read the advice from the listening circle.
Ideal School Day


  • The Ideal School Day Task Force began work in January 2015.
  • The Task Force is charged with researching and developing a plan that maximizes success for all students, using time as a variable and asset.
  • The task force’s work is aligned with the district strategic plan and the Learning Time Action team.
  • The task force is analyzing use of time PK-12 for teacher collaboration to ensure that teachers have their contractual planning time and there is consistency in times for teacher collaboration across the district.
Supporting points   
  • The task force was convened under the auspices of a memorandum of understanding between the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education and the Boulder Valley Education Association (BVEA).
  • The group is being co-facilitated by Lynn Jackson, BVEA, and Sandy Ripplinger, Assistant Superintendent.
  • The task force held meetings throughout the spring and is continuing to meet this fall.
Members of the task force include teachers from different levels and disciplines as well as parents and school administrators.

Supporting points
  • Task force members include classroom teachers at all grade levels as well as music teachers.
  • The task force has divided into sub-groups to research ideal day recommendations for elementary, middle and high school.
Next steps
  • Task force will meet to finalize recommendations to submit to the Superintendent in December. The recommendations have NOT been finalized yet.
  • Recommendations will begin implementation district-wide in fall 2016.


  • The Elementary Specials Task Force worked on this issue in 2010-11.
  • Eight BVSD elementary schools have participated in pilot programs regarding time allocated to art, music and physical education since 2010. The pilots were evaluated in 2012 with overall favorable results.
  • The 2010 committee and current task force have conducted research on best practices for the ideal school day.
Supporting points

The task force is guided by the four principles adopted in 2010:
  • Help students grow into well-rounded, healthy adults (based on current medical and educational research)
  • Provide equal time amongst the specials (Music, Instrumental Music, PE and Art)
  • Provide adequate time to teach the Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum
  • Maintain four content areas (Music, Instrumental Music, PE and Art)
  • The Ideal School Day Task Force conducted interviews with elementary students, parents and teachers.
  • The task force held four meetings around the district with general music teachers to share ideas and receive feedback.
Current thinking about recommendations
  • Recommendations will be based on best practices to increase student success and not budgetary implications or assessments.
  • The goal is to provide a consistent length of day across the district for elementary students to ensure adequate instructional time in math, literacy, science, and social studies and to provide students with opportunities to experience art, music and physical education.
  • Current thinking is to offer fifth grade students a choice of instrumental or general music. Lunch periods will be extended to 25 minutes to address parent concerns, and recess to 45 minutes to meet health/wellness guidelines and policies.
Supporting points

Rationale for music recommendation:
  1. Create equity in access to and time for art, music and physical education.
  2. Students will receive more time in art to equal time allotted for music. Research indicates both music and art are important for a well-rounded education.
  3. Provide a choice in music opportunities for students.
  4. Ensure equal access. Some schools have started offering instrumental music after school, limiting access to some families.
The district will meet contractual obligations to teachers. All non-probationary teachers will have jobs. If there is decreased demand over time, it will be handled through attrition.


An analysis of the current middle school program will result in recommendations for future consideration.
Ideas being explored include block scheduling; more movement breaks during the day; and extending the day for enrichment activities, interest-based activities, advisory periods, interdisciplinary units, and technology use.


The task force will recommend a later start time for high schools.
Supporting points
  • The research on sleep patterns for high school students is guiding the group’s recommendations.
  • The recommendation under consideration is a start time of 8:30 to 9 a.m., which will result in end times of 4 to 4:30 p.m.
  • There have been conversations with principals and athletic directors regarding this proposed change and how to best schedule athletic practices and events.
  • Once a final recommendation is made, the master schedule will be designed to ensure athletes have the opportunity to participate fully.
  • There has been some indication that other districts are considering similar changes in start times for their high school students.
  • The district gathered feedback from students through the Student Advisory Committee, a student organization that includes representatives from each BVSD high school.