Friday, March 20, 2015

Why we have early release days in elementary and middle school

Richland Two elementary and middle schools schedule six days per year when middle school
students dismiss at 10:45 and elementary students dismiss at 11:30. The first early release day,
scheduled in September, is set aside for Parent­Teacher conferences. The remaining five provide
time for teachers to participate in collaborative planning and professional development.
Representatives of elementary and middle school teachers serving on the Superintendent’s
Faculty Advisory Council provide the following explanation on the importance and value of
these days to educators.

Our schools benefit from teachers who rise to the challenge of meeting the needs of
very diverse learners and set high expectations for all students. Early dismissal days play an
increasingly important role in supporting this philosophy and what we value.

Teachers do all they can to protect instructional time. We know, however, the importance
of planning together and participating in professional development in order to ensure our
instruction involves meaningful, challenging, differentiated and quality learning experiences for
all students. The loss of instructional time on early release days is made up by the fact that teachers
benefit students by spending time:

  • Meeting in grade-­level teams to look at student performance data and talk together about instructional changes designed to meet individual student needs.
  • Gathering in collaborative groups to share what we have learned with other faculty and administrators about using technology integration in our classrooms.
  • Working within and across grade-­level teams to engage in curriculum design and work to map the curriculum to ensure continuity from Grades K­-12.
  • Participating in professional development, which is an integral part of teacher and classroom success because it keeps educators abreast of advances in education; deepens teachers’ content knowledge and pedagogical skills; provides opportunities for teachers and professional experts to share best practices and reflect upon our own experiences and those of others. Effective professional development requires more than the length of a faculty meeting. Early release days allow for ample time to effectively listen, participate, and reflect on the pedagogical skill presented.

No comments:

Post a Comment