If Your Kid Goes To A Highline School, They'll Be Getting Out 90 Minutes Early On Most Fridays


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Highline School District on Wednesday (Aug. 19th) announced that, beginning this September and continuing through the 2009-2010 school year, students will be released 90 minutes early on “most Fridays.”

This new policy will replace the half-day Wednesdays and most of the non-student “waiver days” HSD has had in past years.

“This has nothing to do with budget cuts,” said Catherine Carbone Rogers, Director, Communication and Community Engagement for HSD. “The purpose is the give teachers time to learn and collaborate with the goal of improving instruction and student achievement. Most school districts do some form of early release or late start for this purpose, and have for many years. Students will have about the same amount of time out of school as they have for the past few years.”

School begins in three weeks for Highline students, on Wednesday, Sept. 9th, which would make the first early-release day Friday, Sept. 11th 18th (so parents, mark your calendars).

“After students are dismissed on Fridays, teachers will use the time for training, professional development, and collaboration,” states the letter. “The 90-minute sessions, called Professional Collaboration Time (PCT), will include activities such as learning new and better ways to deliver instruction, analyzing student work together, and sharing ideas and plans that will improve student performance.”

Also, as printed in the letter, “The school district surveyed parents and teachers, and the majority preferred a weekly early release of less than two hours, versus a less frequent but longer block of time as we have had in the past.”

Here’s the letter, which will be sent out to families from individual school principals:

DATE

Dear [name of school] Families:

We want you to be aware of a change our school schedule. This year, school will be dismissed 90 minutes early on most Fridays. This will replace the half-day Wednesday schedule and most of the non-student “waiver” days we have had in past years. Overall, the amount of time students will spend out of the classroom is comparable to past years.

After students are dismissed on Fridays, teachers will use the time for training, professional development, and collaboration. The 90-minute sessions, called Professional Collaboration Time (PCT), will include activities such as learning new and better ways to deliver instruction, analyzing student work together, and sharing ideas and plans that will improve student performance. While you might not expect that giving time off school could lead to increased student learning, research shows that time invested in teacher training and improvement of instruction does indeed result in improved student achievement.
Students must be dismissed early in order to provide time for teacher learning and collaboration within teachers’ state-funded work day.

We recognize that shortened school days impact families and parents’ work schedules. The school district surveyed parents and teachers, and the majority preferred a weekly early release of less than two hours, versus a less frequent but longer block of time as we have had in the past.

The most significant impact will be to families of half-day Kindergarteners. Morning and afternoon classes will alternate attending school every other Friday. On Fridays, Kindergarteners will be on the same schedule as students in grades 1-6.

For example, on September 18, morning Kindergarteners will attend school the same hours as grades 1-6; afternoon Kindergarteners will have no school. On the following Friday, afternoon Kindergartners will attend school with grades 1-6; morning Kindergarteners will have no school.

We hope the consistency of the weekly early release will be beneficial for students, families, and teachers. If you have questions, please contact me at [phone number and/or email address]

Sincerely,

[name]
Principal

For more information, visit the Highline School District website here, or download a PDF of the school year calendar here.

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Comments

5 Responses to “If Your Kid Goes To A Highline School, They'll Be Getting Out 90 Minutes Early On Most Fridays”
  1. Regan Marti says:

    Goody. For working parents – this is really gonna impact us. My son is already in half-day Kindergarten – not by choice. AND try & find half-day childcare. NOW add these every other Fridays off & early release for our older kids. Sigh. Maybe I’ll have to look @ getting some sort of childcare coop set up w/other working parents. This stinks.

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  2. Vic Beckstrom says:

    This might explain the WASL scores.

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  3. Name withheld says:

    It’s nice that the early dismissal day is Friday. It’s a 2-1/2 day weekend for teachers. If this is necessary, why not Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday?

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    • M.May says:

      Fridays was chosen based on a phone survey, that most parents had the opportunity to respond too, I know I did. This is stated in this blog and in the district letter. As a parent in this district I look forward to the consistancy this schedule will provide compared to the modge podge created by half days here and Fridays of over there. It was so hard to plan around and for.

      Regarding the statement that this is a 2 1/2 weekend for staff, I find such statements impertinent on two levels. First as a parent in this district I have been faced with a dedicated staff who work hard and use their wisely and are none abusive. I feel strongly that the staff at my son’s school will use this time to better the education in their school and improve excellent WASL Scores they receive. Second, I am a spouse of a committed teacher in HSD. I know he will use the time as directed fully without coming home early. And then he will work beyond those hours like he does most days. That 90 minutes (not a half day) will be work not time to pack up and walk out the door.

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  4. josiev says:

    Early release days start September 18, not Sept 11. See http://hsd401.org/ourdistrict/news/09-10schoolcalendar7-15.pdf

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