When classes resume in August, Washington School District students will be released one hour earlier every Wednesday to give teachers more time to collaborate.

The school board Wednesday night unanimously approved the early out schedule change which was favored by parents.

At the end of this school year, parents were asked to vote on one of two options — starting school late by one hour or releasing students early every week.

Seventy-five percent of parents who responded favored the early out schedule. A total of 806 families voted in favor of the early release while 264 liked the late start option.

School board members have been looking at the schedule for several months now and said the decision was an easy one.

A new school calendar reflecting the early release days, as well as a few other changes, also was approved at the meeting.

Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said she was pleased with the quick response from parents and excited about the new schedule.

This additional collaboration time will allow the district to improve instruction with grade level and subject area teams, she said.

VanLeer added that adoption of the new common core standards and the assessments that come along with it requires that teachers work together through the process.

“Teachers, principals and district leaders will collaborate to plan curriculum implementation, develop assessments, analyze student work and assessment results, and plan lessons, as well as determine appropriate remedial, reinforcement or enrichment style inventions for students,” she said.

Several school board members said they often heard complaints from high school parents about the late-start schedule that had been in place there. They said this new schedule, which will be in effect districtwide, will make it easier for parents to coordinate after school care.

Early Out Schedule

Under the early out plan, elementary students will now be dismissed every Wednesday at 1:45 p.m. Buses will deliver students home about one hour earlier than the current schedule. After school care will continue to be available.

The elementary professional teams will meet from 2 to 3 p.m. every Wednesday.

At both middle school and high school, students will now get out at 2:20 p.m. every Wednesday, and buses will run about an hour earlier.

The teachers at both schools will collaborate from 2:40 to 3:40 p.m. each Wednesday.