District Adds Early Dismissal Days to High School Calendar

Today is the first Early Dismissal day out of the four that were  added to the Rockwood high school calendar this year to help teachers get more professional learning.

The Early Dismissal days include, Sept. 11, Oct. 9, Jan. 18 and Feb. 15. The students will be dismissed at 12:16 p.m. shortening all hours, except fourth, which includes lunch, to 19 minutes.

Corey Adams, freshman, said he prefers early dismissal even though sleeping in on Late Start Days is also enjoyable.

“It would allow kids to get out of school and do things that they want to do with their friends,” Adams said.

He said he is planning to enjoy the rest of the day by heading to Forest Park either paddle boating out of the boathouse or visiting the zoo.

“I like sleeping in,” Adams said. “But [Early Dismissal days] are shorter and you get out earlier so it’s better.”

Justin Spurgeon, social studies teacher, said that while he has had experience teaching blocked classes prior to this year, other teachers with less of that experience could greatly impact from the extra training that early dismissal days allow.

RSD created these Early Dismissal days to better help teachers adjust to the new blocked schedules and provide more time for professional learning.

If we utilize professional development to address those questions, I think those co-workers of mine will be much more at ease when teaching blocks”

— Justin Spurgeon

“If we utilize professional development to address those questions, I think those co-workers of mine will be much more at ease when teaching blocks,” Spurgeon said.

He said Early Dismissal days provide more time, three hours, than the usual hour and a half of late starts.

“I’m glad that we have both, [Early Dismissal and Late Starts] this school year because it then allows us to reflect back on things that we need to change or alter,” Spurgeon said.

However, Spurgeon said both PLC days have their own benefits.

“If we need a little bit more time to collaborate as a PLC or a department, the early release days allow us to do that,” Spurgeon said. “The more frequent late start days gives us quicker availability with one another.”

Dr. Lisa Counts, Assistant Superintendent of Supervision of Schools,  said each high school in the district has early dismissal days on different calendar days according to the quadrant and therefore the corresponding middle schools to better coordinate the transportation.

Because there are four early dismissal days, this year holds four fewer late start days.

“Because high schools also have late starts, we needed to be in compliance with state required number of total minutes for the school year,” Dr. Counts emailed. “So four early dismissals allowed professional development once per quarter and still allow teachers to have professional learning communities on late starts.”

Dr. Counts said MHS is the only high school to implement the newly blocked schedule this year but that other high schools plan to adopt a similar schedule next year. She said this extra teacher learning time will help teachers at those schools to better prepare for the new schedule.

“We’re excited to have this opportunity for our high school teachers to have time dedicated to professional learning,” Dr. Counts emailed. “This will be valuable time for teachers to collaborate and engage with their colleagues about best practices.”

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