Input from parents is being sought before a final decision is made on implementing either a late start or early out schedule in the Washington School District.
The purpose for the change is to allow more time for teachers to collaborate.
Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said the district wants to improve instruction through professional learning with grade level and subject area teams.
“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.
VanLeer said over the next few years, all public schools in Missouri will transition to the Common Core Standards and new assessments.
“This transition is very exciting, but also challenging,” she said.
Collaboration is key, VanLeer added, and professional teams will need to work together throughout this process.
The school board discussed options and reviewed pros and cons of each during a workshop Tuesday night, but wants to hear from parents on what what they would prefer.
VanLeer also shared feedback and analysis from the salary and benefits committee and her staff advisory committee on the schedule change. She also discussed the schedule change with the community advisory team the following night. That group recommended getting parental input as well.
On the survey, parents are aked to select either Option 1, a late start to the school day on Wednesdays; or Option 2, an early out schedule, also on Wednesdays.
The schedule change would occur weekly.
Late Start Schedule
For the late start schedule, elementary schools would start at 8:45 a.m. each Wednesday. Buses would pick up students one hour later and begin dropping students off at the buildings at 8:25 a.m. Parents may begin dropping off their children at 8:25 a.m. as well.
Breakfast would still be made available under this new schedule.
The elementary teachers will meet from 7:20 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. every Wednesday under this plan.
At the middle school, classes would start at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. Bus pickup would again be one hour earlier with students dropped off at 8:55 a.m. The building will open at 8:55 a.m. and breakfast would be made available.
The middle school professional teams would meet from 8 to 9 a.m. every Wednesday.
At Washington High School, the buildings would open at 8:50 a.m. and school would start at 9:30 a.m. every Wednesday. Again, bus pickups would be one hour earlier with students dropped at WHS at 8:50 a.m. Breakfast will be available.
The teachers will collaborate from 8 to 9 a.m. every Wednesday.
Early Out Schedule
Under the early out plan, elementary students would be dismissed every Wednesday at 1:45 p.m. Buses would deliver students home about one hour earlier than the current schedule. After school care would continue to be available.
The elementary professional teams would meet from 2 to 3 p.m. every Wednesday under this scenario.
At both middle school and high school, students would get out at 2:20 p.m. every Wednesday, and buses would be running about an hour earlier.
The teachers at both schools would collaborate from 2:40 to 3:40 p.m. each Wednesday.
VanLeer said the survey will be sent home with elementary students. For families of middle school and high school students, the district will use its call blast and email blast system to alert parents to the survey. The survey also will be posted on the district’s website for parents to complete.
“We really encourage parents to take the time and tell us which option they think is best,” VanLeer said. Surveys should be returned by May 22.
After the surveys are tallied, the results will be communicated and then reviewed by the school board at its May 30 meeting. The board is expected to make a decision at that meeting.
“It’s a busy time of year and it’s a quick turnaround but it’s important we make a decision so families can plan accordingly for next year,” VanLeer said.