Washington board approves early-outs on all Fridays

WASHINGTON — Starting next week, Washington students have early-outs on Fridays for the rest of the semester.

The students will be finished with school at 1:10 p.m. every Friday through Jan. 8, said Superintendent Willie Stone as he presented the plan to the school board on Wednesday.

Stone said starting school at 7:50 a.m. had a negative consequence on teachers’ routines. He said when classes started at 8:10 a.m., teachers used the extra time to prepare and have meetings.

Stone said the earlier start did not impact middle and high school students because the students typically don’t need as much guidance. For the elementary teachers, the earlier start meant they had to immediately start work with classes because of the structure younger students require.

The change allows teachers to meet with colleagues to discuss content areas and other issues from 1:20 to 2:20 p.m. and other preparation in the last hour such as preparing lessons for quarantined virtual students.

Stone presented a list of positive and negatives to the board.

On the positive side, he said the early out allows time to analyze student data, to create opportunities to work as a team and to allow staff to prepare for quarantined students. The new schedule gives parents consistency knowing each Friday is an early out.

On the negative side, he said this change creates day care cost for parents; kids will have 10 less hours of instruction and students who have Kirkwood classes or on-the-job training will be affected.

“We realize there will be some negatives that students/families face from this, but our positives outweigh the negatives,” Stone said.

The change was approved by the board unanimously.