Milton School Board committee recommends late-start days

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Thursday, December 22, 2011
— The Milton School Board could decide as early as Monday, Jan. 16, whether to move to district-wide late-start days one Monday a month next school year.

The boardís curriculum committee on Wednesday voted to recommend the board approve a district plan to dump its current practice of taking five half-days a year for staff professional development in favor of nine late-start days spread through the school year.

The district is trumpeting the proposal as a boon to instruction and student services, although some parents oppose the plan over concerns it would be costly and inconvenient.

Superintendent Mike Garrow and Director of Instruction Randy Bartels on Wednesday answered the following questions to help outline the districtís plans for late-start days.

Q: Why does the district want to move to late-start days?

A: District administrators believe late-start days would allow staff to schedule more professional development time to improve instruction and student services, Garrow said.

More frequent and more consistent professional development time would especially help the staff at the districtís four elementary schools to plan collaborative goals, Bartels said.

Q: Are there other reasons?

A: Late starts would mean more overall instruction time than the current system and would offer students more fruitful and less fractured learning time than half-days, Garrow said.

The plan also would allow the district to curtail its practice of pulling some teachers from the classroom for in-services planned in the middle of school days, Garrow said. That would save on substitute teacher costs.

The change also could benefit a possible plan by Milton High School to switch from a seven-period day to an eight-period day, Garrow said. Details of that plan wonít be unveiled until January 2012.

Q: What would the change mean?

A: Under the proposed late-start model, kindergarten through 12th-grade students would start school two hours late one Monday a month. On those days, bus routes would start late and the school day would begin at about 10 a.m. The district would still offer its breakfast program those days.

Q: Are there any concerns about late-start days?

A: Some district parents with younger students fear late-start days could require them to miss work or find a day care service to supervise their children while students wait for school to start.

Q: Would the district offer before-school activities or day care options on late-start days?

A: While there are no definite plans, district officials are in talks with local child care providers over before-school activities for younger students on late-start days, Garrow said. The possible options would cost parents, and because buses would run late, parents would have to provide transportation to any before-school program.

Last updated: 7:03 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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