Monday, March 12, 2001

Loveland may revise dismissal times

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOVELAND — The Loveland school board likely will vote Tuesday on a plan that would start this fall to release students from class two hours early on 15 days throughout the year.

        The early dismissal program will offer teachers more time together to focus on improving student academic performance and improving students' proficiency tests results, said board member Dr. Judy McClanahan.

   The dates under consideration for early dismissal are:
    • Sept. 12 and 26
    • Oct. 24
    • Nov. 14 and 28
    • Dec. 12
    • Jan. 9 and 23
    • Feb. 13 and 27
    • March 13
    • April 10 and 24
    • May 8 and 22
        Teachers would remain in school during those two hours to plan and coordinate curriculum.

        “If spread throughout the year, professional development becomes part of their daily lives,” Dr. McClanahan said. “With children out of building, they have the mental space ... to sort out what needs to be done.”

        A vote on the program was tabled at the board's Feb. 20 meeting for board members to consider how schools could make up the time and how parents' child care arrangements would be affected by the program, Dr. McClanahan said.

        A plan is being considered to add 10 minutes to every school day throughout the year to make up for missed class time, which would amount to 1,800 minutes a year, Dr. McClanahan said.

        If the vote passes for early dismissal, Loveland's program won't be the first. Mason and Kings are just two districts that also have early dismissal days.

        “We've been asking for this for a long time,” said Loveland Elementary fourth-grade teacher Nancy Croskey. “The early release program would give us more of an opportunity to talk to teachers across grade levels.”

        Ms. Croskey is in a building that houses only third and fourth grades. Communicating with teachers in other buildings is often impossible, she said.

        Scheduled professional development days also would reduce the amount of time teachers are pulled out of class to work on curriculum alignment, she said. Ms. Croskey was pulled out of class for half-days three times in January for that purpose, she said.


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