Students dismissed 90 minutes early on Wednesday

Students will be heading home 90 minutes earlier on Wednesday.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will release all students early in order to allow teachers and staff time to collaborate and focus on professional development.

“School is released 90 minutes early for students,” Pegge Erkeneff, school district spokesperson, said. “But, teachers max the day in order to improve and work together on instructional strategies, personalized learning and professional development to improve their teaching for students.”

Sept. 13’s early dismissal is the first of six early release days scheduled for the school year. Students will also be dismissed early on Oct. 25, Nov. 22, Feb. 7, April 4 and May 2.

School bus schedules have been adjusted to bring students home at the earlier time.

“Everything ends 90 minutes early, so if a bus normally runs at ‘x’ time, it runs 90 minutes earlier than that,” Erkeneff said.

Earlier this year, the district released the results of the 2016 – 2017 KPBSD Parent Survey: Student Early Release and Teacher Collaboration.

The annual survey, which received about 350 responses from across the district, gives parents the opportunity to express their opinions on the early release days.

“Of note were comments from parents that they would like the district to do a better job of sharing with them exactly what kind of work and professional learning activities teachers are doing on these days,” according to board documents.

But, the 2016-2017 survey found that about 60 percent of the parents believe the early release is either “beneficial” or “definitely beneficial” for teachers. Forty-four percent of parents said that they found the days to be “beneficial” or “definitely beneficial” to their children.

An overwhelming number of parents, 88 percent of those who answered the question, said they would generally prefer the early release day to be a Friday, in comparison to Wednesdays.

In the past, the district has had the early dismissals fall on a mixture of Wednesdays and Fridays, but each early dismissal this school year will be on a Wednesday.

Some comments in the survey highlighted issues that working parents face in rearranging their schedule, or handling the schedule of several children at different grade levels.

“The district really does appreciate that parents make arrangements for children in order to have these six days a year,” Erkeneff said. “We are very appreciative of that.”

Reach Kat Sorensen at kat.sorensen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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