RSU 29 changes Tuesday early release days

8 years ago
HOULTON, Maine — A change in the early-release schedule for students in RSU 29 is coming next school year.

On Monday evening, the RSU 29 board approved a switch in the district’s early-release practices and starting with the 2016-17 school year, the district will no longer release its students early every Tuesday.

“The staff suggested they would like a change,” RSU 29 Superintendent Ellen Schneider said. “We are proposing seven early release days, still Tuesday, with students getting out at 11:30 and teachers starting their in-service work at noon.”

Last year the teachers completed a survey regarding professional development times and the majority shared that they would prefer not to have the one hour early release days each week, according to Schneider

For the past couple of years, RSU 29 has released students 30 minutes early every Tuesday, with teachers using that time to do their career development work.

In the 2012-13 school year, the district used a delayed start of 8:45 a.m. each Tuesday for staff training. Starting with the 2013-14 school year, the district switched to the early release every Tuesday.

“The switch to seven, three-hour early release days in conjunction with our full-day inservice opportunities lends itself better to more in-depth professional development than the one-hour sessions,” she said. “It was important that we not increase the amount of instructional time for students.”

Schneider said the switch would not decrease the amount of instructional time students receive.

This schedule impacts the same number of hours for students as the previous schedule and in fact, significantly decreases the instructional time missed for the Region II students.

“Some of those students will actually gain up to six additional hours of instructional time,” she said.

Another benefit, according to the superintendent, is that it will be less demanding on families having to make arrangements to pick their child up early every Tuesday.

“It is also our hope that this schedule will be less impactful on student families,” She said. “It is less (total) hours of instructional development for the teachers, but we feel the payoff is that they (the teachers) will have structured time so they can get something done. The feeling from teachers is that they barely get started work on an early release day and then it’s done. Having three hours at a time will provide them greater opportunity to get more accomplished in areas of professional development.”