Jul 30, 2014
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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.

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

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 childcare39 percentCost of after-school childcare39 percentAvalability of transportation54 percentDisruption to family schedule57 percentSource: 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. 

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