Purdy school schedule proposal expected this month

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Activities considered for students arriving early

Expanding the school day at the Purdy School District should take shape this month.

Superintendent Steven Chancellor said he hoped to have a detailed proposal ready for consideration at the school board's Monday, April 21, meeting.

In February, Chancellor proposed lengthening the school day to expand the professional development schedule for teachers. Instead of only meeting once a month plus staff meetings, teachers would have professional learning team meetings at 8 a.m. on Mondays, starting classes no later than 8:30. The end of the school day would be extended from 3:10 to about 3:30 p.m.

The adjustment would add 48 minutes to school each week, extending the school year from 1,875 to 1,923 instructional minutes. Teachers, in turn, would have more time for collaboration, focusing on a response-to-intervention model, Chancellor said. As the district increases its demands on teachers through new strategies and technology, the additional time would boost communication in core subjects between grade levels and uniform responses to students not grasping subject matter.

"Compared to other districts, we go the least longest time," Chancellor said. "We have a six hour and 40 minute day. Twenty minutes gets us to seven hours. Then we'll be in the mix with everyone else."

The exact schedule is still under consideration, whether to start school at 8:15 a.m., 8:20 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. The leading idea calls for seven 52-minute class periods Tuesday through Friday, and 40-minute class periods on Monday with a 25-minute lab time.

Chancellor returned to one of the concerns discussed in February, what students would do on Mondays before classes began. A variety of options were under consideration, such as organized reading or organized play in classrooms for elementary students, offering character education for a quarter and focusing on the fine arts in a subsequent quarter. More collaboration could be offered between students at the upper grades.

Students have begun looking at scheduling classes for the coming year. Chancellor said the class length question should not affect the order of courses and when they are offered.

"We're re-evaluating some course offerings and changing the order of some classes that don't make sense now," Chancellor said. "At the high school, we have two math classes flip-flopped. The state tests social studies in a later year than we're offering the course, so why not move it? We're doing that at the same time."

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