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Dear TFSD Parents/Guardians:

 

Over the past two years, the Twin Falls School District has been exploring ways to provide teachers with the time they need to enhance the effectiveness of instruction to further ensure all students in our district receive a world-class education. In order to address this challenge, a committee was formed, made up of both parents and teachers representing all levels within our school system. More time for teacher collaboration and professional development was identified as an area where we could make some improvements.

 

Currently, each school works to set aside time for teachers to take on the many tasks that are outside of the normal classroom instruction. Teachers are tasked with grading, attending staff meetings, preparing lessons, collaborating with other teachers in the same grade to make sure they are using the best practices, collaborating with teachers in the grades above and below them to make sure the students’ education is seamless, and continually learning to improve their craft. This seems like a lot!  It is critical that teachers have time for intentional planning where they can collaborate with grade level/subject area teams or across grade levels as well as time for teachers to receive training. In order to make time for this, the committee began to explore early release or late start options.

 

The committee did extensive research to establish what the best practices are for these options. They reached out to many other school districts to see what kind of early release or late start options they had tried, how they had been implemented, how successful they were, and what kind of challenges they presented. The committee came up with a plan for a  “Collaboration Monday” that they think will serve the goals of providing more intentional planning time for teachers while not sacrificing extreme amounts of valuable instruction time or placing an unreasonable burden on parents. The plan for Collaboration Monday would shorten the student school day every Monday providing for a block of time at the end of the day.

 

 

Elementary School

AM Kindergarten

PM Kindergarten

Middle School

High School

Start

8 a.m.

8 a.m.

12:00 p.m.

8:40 a.m.

8:05 a.m.

Tue.-Fri. End

3:10 p.m.

11:10 a.m.

3:10 p.m.

3:50 p.m.

3:25 p.m.

Mon. End

2:10 p.m.

10:40 a.m.

2:10 p.m.

2:50 p.m.

2:25 p.m.

 

To help everyone understand this proposal we have established some frequently asked questions and answers, which are attached to this email. In addition, to gather feedback on the proposal we will be hosting a public forum on May 2, 2019 at 7 p.m. in the O’Leary Middle School Auditorium. We hope you join us to talk about this proposal and provide us with your thoughts. If you are unable to attend the public forum, you can submit your comments utilizing this survey link:

Sincerely,

Bill Brulotte & Annette McFarlin

Associate Superintendent & OMS Teacher

Committee Co-Chairs

Collaboration Monday Proposal Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What is Collaboration Monday?

A: Collaboration Monday is a day when school ends earlier than a normal school day to allow time for teachers to collaborate and receive training. In Twin Falls, for the 2019-20 school year, we plan on utilizing an early release day on Monday. On these days, elementary school students would be released at 2:10, middle school students would be released at 2:50, and high school students would be released at 2:25.

 

Q: How will this affect half-day kindergarten students?

A: Just like the other grade levels the kindergarten schedule would be shortened on Mondays. On Mondays, AM kindergarten would run from approximately 8 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. and PM kindergarten would run from approximately 11:30 a.m. to 2:10 p.m.

 

Q: Will high schools still have late start days?

A: The high schools would not be utilizing the traditional Wednesday late start days. High schools would start at 8:05 a.m. every day.

 

Q: Will students still get the required amount of time with their teachers?

A:  Yes, in the TFSD we have generally planned for more than the state required time. In the past, we have been closest to this threshold in our elementary schools, in particular in kindergarten. If this change were to be implemented, we would need to provide additional classroom time for the kindergarten students to stay above the state requirement. In order to ensure that our students are in school as much as is required, the elementary school day would be lengthened by 10 minutes for the 2019-20 school year. This means that the release time for elementary school students on Tuesdays through Friday will be 3:10 p.m.

 

Q: What will my kids do during this time?

A: On Collaboration Mondays, buses will run right after class is dismissed and we will expect parents of non-bus riders to either pick up their students or have them walk home. Because this time is dedicated to teacher collaboration, we will not provide afterschool programming that would take teachers away from their teams.

 

Q: What will happen to after-school activities and athletics practices on Collaboration Mondays?

A: If an advisor or athletics coach is a teacher, their practices will not start until after the teachers’ collaboration time is complete.

 

Q: Is this plan set in stone?

A: As with everything in education, we are continually evaluating our practices and working to improve. Currently, the committee is gathering feedback on this plan and will come back together to make any necessary changes in early May. After that, the committee will present the plan to the School Board and hope to have a finalized version by the end of the school year. Throughout the 2019-20 school year, we will be evaluating the early release day and determining if it should be continued for the following year.

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