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Support Still Split for Weekly Early Release Next School Year, Survey Shows

According to feedback from a survey sent out to nearly 3,000 parents, parents are still on the fence about the most controversial component of a schedule proposal for 2013-14.

Menomonee Falls School District leaders have been moving forward cautiously with a proposal to modify the schedule for all students next year. Data compiled by the district show parents are still on the fence about the proposal’s most controversial feature – a weekly early release day.

Under new mandates, the state is implementing a more rigorous assessment system to increase student proficiencies at all levels. As a result, district administrators are proposing a revised schedule to carve out time next year for teachers to revise assessments, review student achievement data, and provide more individualized learning.

Here’s the proposed schedule for 2013-14:

  • Menomonee Falls High School: 7:50 a.m. to 3:05 p.m., 7:50 a.m. to 1:55 p.m. Wednesdays
  • North Middle School: 7:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 7:15 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. Wednesdays
  • Elementary Schools: 8:50 a.m. to 3:40 p.m., 8:50 a.m. to 2:35 p.m. Wednesdays
  • Kindergarten: 8:50-11:30 a.m. and 12:50-3:30 p.m., 8:50-10:50 a.m. and 12:15-2:15 p.m. on Wednesdays

The most significant change proposed is a weekly early release from school every Wednesday for all grade levels. It’s a proposal the district admittedly knows could cause some controversy. Administrators have proceeded slowly, and are seeking public feedback at every opportunity.

On Monday, Superintendent Patricia Greco presented feedback solicited from a survey sent out to 2,686 parents, which 713 completed. Roughly 46 percent of parents felt the early release time met the stated purpose of “providing regular time to adjust teaching and assessments for their child.” Another 29 percent said they needed more information, and 25 percent felt it didn’t meet the district’s stated purpose.

Parents also indentified their level of concern for topics related to an early release. The results are as follows (percent total indicates the number of respondents who answered “significant concern” or “somewhat a concern”):

Early Release Topics of Concern Percent who answered "significant concern" or "somewhat a concern"  Access to after-school childcare 39 percent Cost of after-school childcare 39 percent Avalability of transportation 54 percent Disruption to family schedule 57 percent Source: Menomonee Falls School District 

The district would offer childcare for parents who wouldn’t be able to provide it themselves on early release days. The district would provide services through Kinds Inc. for $19 a day, or $14 a day if registered a week early. However, only 25 percent of respondents said they would participate in school-based, after-school childcare.

Only 36 percent of parents felt the early release was a strength of the proposed schedule. 

The district’s 2013-14 calendar remains a proposal at this point. The board will place the proposal as a discussion item at its Feb. 11, and a vote could be taken Feb. 25. 

Melissa January 30, 2013 at 11:15 PM
My concern is why "disruption to learning" wasn't listed as one of the options. Adding minutes here and there is not the same as a 70 minute block of time.
Nuitari (Grand Master Editor) January 30, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Why is this such an issue nowadays?
M. Falls January 31, 2013 at 01:35 AM
What's wrong with the teachers working an extra 70 minutes? Too inconvenient for them? Well, think about what it is doing to all of the parents that may have to leave work early, pay extra for childcare...Wakeup School District
Nico January 31, 2013 at 01:00 PM
Working an extra 70 min. would significantly cut into happy hour at Su Casa.
Di Atribe February 01, 2013 at 04:38 PM
Add this to the list of why we sent our kids to schools outside of the MF school idiocy. --In fourth grade my son was reprimanded for asking too many detailed questions and reading 6th- and 7th- grade books. He was told it makes the other kids feel bad. This reaction by an elderly teacher who supposedly was experienced. Off to home-schooling for the next few years. --Their friends and parents relayed stories of the chaos at the middle school, so off to parochial school. --The lax 80% final test exemption policy telegraphs a severe lack of emphasis on high standards in the high school. Combine that with the 220 program and the troubles there, and overall lower ratings as compared to GHS, it was off to open enrollment and GHS. --The very thought of disrupting every family in the district so the teachers can save working an extra hour is another testament to the complete scorn the administration has for the people who pay their salaries. What professional doesn't kick in the time required to be successful and respected at work? This community deserves better, and the school culture we have experienced over the years are those of the stereotypically poor behavior of Teamster auto assemblers in the '70s. /Except for one third grade teacher--she was a beacon of caring and toughness that made the kids learn well above their peers.
RN4DRG February 09, 2013 at 03:52 PM
When the survey came out, one of the questions I couldn't find an answer to was whether or not the teachers would be required to attend these meetings every Wednesday or if they would just be looking forward to a shortened day once a week with an occasional meeting thrown in during the year. Does anyone know? I also like the suggestion to have the teachers start 70 minutes earlier once per week. Disrupting their schedules would have less of an impact than disrupting the schedules of every family in the district.

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