MADRAS, OR -- The Jefferson County 509-J School Board is considering a big change to the calendar. While several area districts use early release on Wednesdays for teacher training, Jefferson County Superintendent Rick Molitor says the board is looking at “Late Start Mondays.” He tells KBND News, "This year, we have 6 professional development full days, that students don’t attend school but the teachers have. What we’re proposing is to turn those back to student learning days and when the students are in school on Mondays, that would be a late start day – a 90-minute late start." It would increase the number of days kids are in school from 162 to 168.
Molitor says starting later on most Mondays would allow for more consistent professional development time for teachers, and address some chronic absence and tardy issues. "Mondays typically are, like most people getting to work, it’s pretty rough. It almost gives students and families a little bit more time after the weekend to get prepped for the week. And then, instead of starting at like 8 a.m., students will be starting at 9:30 a.m." He's heard from a number of parents who say starting later one day a week is less disruptive than sending kids home early.
The district is talking with the Boys and Girls Club in Warm Springs and Jefferson County Kids Club to address concerns from working families. "If this calendar goes through, it’ll be we sit down and talk with those organizations," says Molitor. "Out at Warm Springs, the K-8 Academy, they’ve been doing early morning cultural and heritage opportunities, so that’s something that we might continue and be able to offer students and parents to be able to drop them off at a time that’s helpful for the working family."
The board will continue to accept comments on the proposal until its April 10 meeting, when they’re expected to make a final decision. Molitor adds, "We know it does impact families and we’re asking that parents acknowledge and understand the reason that we’re asking for it. It’s definitely not a free time. That 90 minutes, that time will be used to really impact the quality of instruction that is happening."