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School changes stance on late-start Wednesdays

After discussions with parents, North County school officials have decided not to implement late-start Wednesdays district-wide.

Instead, they have opted to try early-out Wednesdays. The decision still needs a vote from the district’s Board of Education.

The Board of Education had voted in March to implement late-start Wednesdays district-wide. Beginning in August, buses would have run 45 minutes late and classes would have begun an hour late every Wednesday.

Now district officials are proposing that the school day end 45 minutes early every Wednesday at each school.

This would mean the high school would switch from late-starts, which was implemented two years ago, to early-outs.

“It will work,” Superintendent Dr. Terry Gibbons said of the switch. “They will make it work.”

Gibbons told parents during an informational meeting Thursday night that he still believed late starts would work better for teachers because minds are fresher in the morning. He said the school district would bring up the idea again some time in the future.

“Maybe we’re not ready for the big leap yet,” he said.

Gibbons said they are still working out the details. Schools would dismiss about 1:30 p.m. Class periods would be five to 10 minutes shorter on those days.

One parent asked if they would have a tutoring program for students after school.

Gibbons said they are still working that out. He said the district needs to provide ways to support students so that they don’t fail.

“That’s our goal,” he said.

Parents attending the Thursday meeting indicated they were pleased that the district was going with early outs over late starts.

“I appreciate the district listening to our concerns and that our voices were heard,” one parent said.

Gibbons has explained that there is a lot more expected of teachers because of No Child Left Behind and state mandates. All students must be proficient – at grade level – in communication arts and math by 2014.

He said the extra 45 minutes every Wednesday would give teachers time to plan and collaborate with other teachers. He said research has shown systematic and ongoing professional development improves student learning.

The next board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. May 19. The meeting is open to the public.

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