Weekly Release School Calendar Impact and Schedule:
It is important to note that while implementing a weekly release reduces the number of full SI days, it does not eliminate them completely as these extended professional development times are also important to student success.
**Partial day Early Childhood students are not impacted by the early release. They will continue to be in classrooms until the 3:30 p.m. dismissal time each day. However, full day preschool classes will dismiss early.**Monday through Thursday school hours will be the following:EC: Class times vary, please refer to communication from EC regarding your student's schedule.McCulloch, Price and Schofield: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.Lyon: 8:20 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.Sweeny: 8:40 a.m. to 3:40 p.m.RMS: 7:40 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.RHS: 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.EVERY Friday students will be released one hour early to provide teachers time to collaborate for student learning. This impacts all day preschool students through 12th grade students. Partial day preschool students are not impacted. On Friday Early Release days start times will not change, but release times will be as follows:McCulloch, Price, Schofield and All Day Preschool Classes: 2:30 p.m.Lyon: 2:20 p.m.Sweeny: 2:40 p.m.RMS: 1:40 p.m.RHS: 1:30 p.m.
What is Weekly Release?
During the fall of the 2013-2014 school year, Republic School District began investigating a return to a weekly release as part of the ongoing effort to continuously improve learning for students. Weekly release is a research based best practice which allows teachers and administrators time to work together each week in a structured manner. Teachers would meet in grade level/departmental teams to focus on instructional practices and responding to student learning needs.
Facilitating this process through collaborative time helps teachers determine the needs of students weekly instead of every four to six weeks as a more traditional schedule allows. Weekly release provides a structured setting for teachers to dialogue on improving teaching and learning for all students, disaggregating data, instructional strategies, common pacing, etc. This time emphasizes collaboration and sharing of best practices among like grouped teachers. Collaboration occurs each Friday at a specific time. Including this time in the weekly schedule helps continue the focus on improving learning outcomes for all students and shows a strong commitment to increasing the capacity of our students, staff, and overall district.
The practice of a weekly release is part of a larger system of improvement efforts known as Professional Learning Communities or PLCs. The guiding questions for a Professional Learning Community are…
What do we want students to know?
How will we know when students have learned it?
How will we respond when students don’t learn it?
What do we do if students already know it?
These fundamental questions guide the actions of the grade levels and departments during weekly collaboration efforts. Moreover, considering these questions weekly help teachers and principals collaborate in a meaningful and purposeful manner. Focusing on these questions each and every week leads to improved outcomes for students and staff as we seek to be more responsive to student needs.
Research and Investigation Process
Both a teacher and community survey were conducted in late 2013 and showed strong support for a weekly collaboration time for teachers through a weekly release. However, many questions arose around the logistics of the program and the initiative was tabled for further study in the spring of 2014 and the fall of 2014.
In response, a committee of teachers and administrators were assigned to investigate a weekly release for Republic School District. The committee ardently researched best practices that would best fit a weekly release model for our district. Their research included gathering input from stakeholders and visits to other school districts similar to Republic who are implementing a weekly release. Those schools included Branson, Nixa and Rogersville. Weekly release is currently and successfully implemented in 6 of the 8 large COC school districts.
The investigative team used the information they have gathered and created a proposal to put before district teachers and community patrons. The proposals were accompanied by two surveys (one for district teachers and one for community patrons). The community patron survey indicated that 74% of the respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the implementation of a weekly release. Of those in agreement, 61% indicated that they preferred an early release. Of the respondents that identified a preferred day, 90% selected Friday for the weekly release. These results closely resemble results from the staff which indicated that 87% of staff favor a weekly release for collaboration in order to more quickly respond to student needs. Furthermore, 73% favored an early release and of those respondents 52% selected Friday as the day of choice (18% chose Monday and 15% chose Wednesday).
The combined results of these surveys (in conjunction with the additional research the investigative committee has collected) were used to create a final proposal which first was presented to the TASK Committee for review. This committee then moved the proposal on to the Board of Education for discussion at the January 2015 monthly meeting. This proposal received final approval by the Board of Education at the February 19 monthly meeting, and was implemented for the 2015-2016 school year.