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Falls School Officials Consider Shaving Class Time to Increase Teacher Development

The Cuyahoga Falls Board of Education is expected to discuss and vote on the matter at a special meeting on Monday, July 2.

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!

Mike Penta July 01, 2012 at 06:25 PM
It's great they are looking for more professional development time and I can see this paying off in classroom instruction but the community also needs more time to consider the pros and cons of this plan before it's voted on tomorrow night. People need to digest this and voice concerns if they have them so the district can be sure it's making the optimal decision. Why is Wednesday the best day to go with? Why not Monday or from a student perspective Friday? What exactly is the plan to "mobilize" PTA members and volunteers and how will that program be sustained in the long-run? Will students be required to leave school property after being released or can they stay and engage in self-directed learning? How does this plan affect working parents? What other options have been considered? It seems like parents and students are left holding the bag on this one.
It's a Breeze Travel July 02, 2012 at 01:37 AM
I am all about additional training for our teachers. However, this is not the right plan. The average person works 50 weeks per year (250 days) and has 3 personal days (that they either use or lose) and 5 paid holidays every year, in the school district according to the most recent calendar, they teachers only work 180 days, they have 10 personal/sick days, and we know what holidays and vacation time they have off. Two weeks at Christmas, Spring Break and about 2 months in the summer. This past year, I had been told that my daughters 1st grade teacher had been absent so much due to training and the occassional illness. That is fine, those trainings are offsite and take a whole day and happen at least once a month and are 1-3 days. My daughter had a sub 1-3 days more weeks than the teacher was there all week. How is this helping with the consistency of our teaching? It isn't and that one hour is useless. Build more staff inservice days into the schedule or add days to the school year. This is garbage that is being fed to the youth of Cuyahoga Falls. Shave off an hour, and it still takes a half hour to get ready for the training....useless.
David Morris July 02, 2012 at 12:07 PM
If the school board wants to spend the money to train teachers how to deal with another stupid set of mandated curricula goals, why can't the school board do it after hours rather than tax the parents without the benefit of an election approving that tax. Make no mistake: parents who work will suffer financially one way or another having to provide extra care for children which they are not currently budgeting. Arrogant bureaucratic authoritarianism has no place in a Democracy. And this example is no exception to that rule.
Kelly July 02, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I agree with the above comments. This is making it extremely hard for working parents. I happen to work in the Tallmadge City schools and we simply don't do early release because of working parents in the community. Also being a parent on the PTA at Lincoln Elementary I can tell you even if I wasn't working I am not so quick to say I would want to volunteer my time to watch ask the other kids. If this plan absolutely had to be put in place I agree Fridays will be a much better day then parents who take children out of town on weekends would Brigit from the earlier time of release.
Tom Tucker July 02, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I strongly suggest you learn to read. And if you believe you do, someone lied to you.
Kate Bigam July 02, 2012 at 08:07 PM
While I'm all for training our teachers, I can't see how educating our kids LESS is the right way to further or strengthen education.
RL Carter July 05, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Isn't there a way the teachers can get the training on-line in their own time and not take the time away from their students, mess up everyone's schedules and have to coordinate all that extra "child care?"
John Deike July 05, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Good evening RL, teachers would need to be paid overtime if the professional development sessions were held outside of school hours, according to school officials.

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