Ready to see the class clock wound back by an hour one day per week next year? Falls school officials are vying for the plan, Board of Education president Dave Rump is behind it, students probably won’t mind, but what about parents?
According to Falls Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Nichols, the shift is intended to slightly reduce class time in order to increase professional development among teachers and prepare them for the incoming federally- and state-mandated changes to class curricula. PD, as it’s often called, refers to specialized training sessions that enhance teaching skills among educators.
“As proposed, the district's elementary school students would be released at 2:25 p.m. on Wednesdays, as opposed to their usual dismissal time of 3:20 p.m.; middle school students would be dismissed at 1:55 p.m. instead of 2:50 p.m.; and high school students would be released at 1:45 p.m. rather than 2:40 p.m.,” reports the Falls News Press.
Students would still attend all the same classes on early release days, yet each class would be shortened.
The board is expected to vote on the proposal during its special meeting on Monday.
“Over the next two years, at least, the landscape of accountability in education will be increased substantially,” wrote Nichols via email. “With the implementation of the Common Core Standards, the web-based assessments associated with the Common Core, and the change in teacher and principal evaluations (50% will be based on student achievement and growth), our staff needs collaborative time to prepare for and adjust to the dramatic change in rigor.”
The Common Core is a set of guidelines that map out what K-12 students are expected to learn in a given year.
Nichols said the plan wouldn’t be all that different from what’s in place now since teachers are pulled into PD sessions during class days. He argues his plan will actually be more effective than the current one.
“Last year we invested in nearly 1,700 days of professional development time,” he wrote. “With the implementation of early release we hope to cut that number in half; thereby, we will be increasing the contact time that students have with their teachers in class.”
Board president Dave Rump said he hopes Monday’s meeting will provide the opportunity for school officials to address concerns among parents, especially those who are worried about how the shift could disrupt their schedules.
Rump said the district is already working on a plan to mobilize PTA members and volunteers in order to provide daycare programs for students who won’t be able to be picked up on Wednesdays.
The board will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday in the , located at 431 Stow Ave.
For more information on the early release schedule and to find out more on what will be taught in the professional development sessions refer to the attached PDF.
What do you think of the plan? Tell us in the comments!