New early release schedule announced to ring in school year

by Chloe Jordan | Editor-In-Chief

This year’s schedule will only include one early release day per month, instead of it being every Tuesday.

Approximately five weeks ago, the executive staff, superintendent, and board decided to implement this change, considering the shortage of bus drivers.

“So far, transportation has done a very good job of, even though we are short, keeping times from being too late,” Principal Gary Comalander said. “But it’s different all over the district. So some schools are a little bit slower on being able to get all the kids home. It’s also harder when we have a bus that’s crowded to now come up with a second bus to be able to relieve how crowded it is. It does make it a little more difficult, because you don’t have any more drivers.”

Not only has the lack of bus drivers become a pertinent issue, but so has the difference between elementary and middle schools only having one day a month that aligned with the high school early release schedule, causing timing problems with pick-ups across the district on the days that only high schools let out early.

“If we all get out early and the schedule kind of stays the same. That’s what happens on the monthly early release,” Comalander said. “Elementary gets out two hours early, middle school two hours early, high school two hours early, so it’s still the same timeframe.”

Although this shift in scheduling will lessen the number of teacher PLC days, time is being allotted in the mornings to account for this difference in planning.

“So what we’ve done is we’ve carved the extra time into the morning. And we always have a lot of tutoring time,” Comalander said. “But we have made a concerted plan that different groups can have a morning each week to make up for that PLC time.”

For students, early release days will mean 35 minute class periods, which teachers are already planning for.

“It really won’t change a lot for the students except you’re gonna get out at two o’clock on that day and have some time to either get to your extracurricular early and not be as late or go do work, whatever it is the student wants to do,” Comalander said.

The school is also able to cut the schedule five minutes short to 4:15, as it attains the total minutes TEA requires.

“Everything in the state is based on how many minutes a student goes to school,” Comalander said. “And so we were able to carve it so that every student is in school enough minutes for the entire school year, which allowed us to get students out five minutes earlier, every day of the week.”

Nonetheless, students and staff are appreciative to have any early release days at all.

“We’re happy that our teachers will still get [PLC time] once a month,” Comalander said. “You know, it’s not as great as it was last year, but it’s still a good thing. So we’re excited about it.”

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