Latest scheduling plan for Purdy school unveiled

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Superintendent describes plans to expand school day

Purdy schools will start next school year with classes starting at 8:15 a.m., except for Mondays, when school will start almost an hour later for students.

Superintendent Stephen Chancellor said that Purdy's current starting time of 8:30 a.m. is the latest start for any district in Barry County. The change will put the district closer in line with others, at no additional cost, as the faculty has obligations to work through the proposed schedule.

To develop more time for teachers to learn and apply technology in their classrooms, the district has proposed starting school later every Monday at about 9:11 a.m. On other days, Chancellor proposed two schedules, one starting at 8:15 and a second at 8:30 p.m. Patrons found 3:30 p.m. too late a release time, so the 8:15 to 3:15 option became the preferred choice.

Most class periods will run 52 minutes, with an 82-minute midday period to work in lunch.

The adjustments will expand the school week from the present 1,875 instructional minutes to 1,923 minutes, including the late start. The net increase from the proposal is 48 instructional minutes.

One concern voiced by patrons is what students will do before classes start.

"The kids are always supervised," Chancellor said. "While our core teachers are in professional development, we will use aides and volunteers and non-certified staff to engage students in activities. They won't be roaming around the halls doing nothing. The kids will know where to go. We will track who arrives and where they go."

On Mondays, teachers will focus on different subjects each week. Efforts will concentrate on assessment, curriculum and instruction, technology integration, data analysis and curriculum and instruction.

The need for more time for professional development corresponds with the increased use of technology as the school board plans to introduce more devices into the classroom setting. Groundwork for what is viewed as a far-reaching change in teaching and learning led to the recent trip by school officials to the headquarters of Apple Computers in Cupertino, Calif. Teachers will spend their Mondays focusing on different subjects each week. Efforts will concentrate on assessment, curriculum and instruction, technology integration, data analysis and curriculum and instruction.

Chancellor stressed that Apple is a strategic partner and "not just a vendor with cool products." Looking at Apple's nine pillars to success, Chancellor unveiled three reasons to pursue technology: the ability to navigate and find information in the real world; the application of critical thinking and problem solving; and opening the door to lifelong learning.

"The last decision we make will be what device we will buy," Chancellor said.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: