Early Release Thursdays
By Cynthia Dominguez, Clarion Staff
With the new school year, changes are inevitable. Although change can be initially startling, it eventually integrates itself to the point that the change in routine is unrecognizable. This new school year brought one change that students may or may not be accustomed to now.
This year, a new schedule was introduced for Thursdays. This new schedule includes an early release at 2:17 PM every Thursday and a slight lengthening of the other days of the week by eleven minutes. In a letter sent out to all parents from the superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District, the reason for this change was, “[to give] teachers dedicated time every week to get together and develop plans to improve student achievement and outcomes.”
Generally, this new change was accepted well. The teachers were informed of the schedule change about a month before summer break and many were familiar with this type of schedule. The early release of students allows teachers to meet the remaining hour and a half of the regular school day. Assistant Principal Mr. Michael Fry explained, “The new schedule allows time for collaboration without adding to the teachers’ workloads.” This incorporation of the meetings into the school day has allowed teachers to value the time given to them.
The goal for the schedule change is ultimately for a better teaching and learning environment. History teacher, Mr. Jonathan Andrews also expressed the goal by stating, “I really think [the meetings] can serve their purpose…I hope for the sake of the students and their success and our ability to make good content that actually pushes in the right direction of instruction and understanding that it happens.” Mr. Andrews also hoped some helpful opportunities would develop from these meetings including comparing curriculum with teachers who work with different grade levels and even those who teach different subjects.
Some departments have already begun making significant progress. A Kennedy math instructor, Mr. Plotts stated, “So far, the math department has done some great things as far as…coming up with common pacing guides, taking a look at each other’s tests, and giving each other critiques about such things. It makes better teachers and better teachers are going to make better students.” With the assurance that teachers are making efforts to better their academic success, students can look forward to an early release every Thursday.