Early release days added to school calendar

by Jim Boyle

The Elk River Area School Board approved a modification to the 2012–2013 school calendar to provide two, two-hour early release days for teachers.

They have been scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, and Friday, Jan. 18, 2013.

These four hours will be used by educators to complete grading, report cards, planning, communication tasks and training teaching assistants.  District 728 educators also will work on the following district strategic plan initiatives:

•Response-to-Intervention (RtI);

•Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS);

•Professional Learning Communities (PLCs);

and the school district’s new

•Math and language arts programs.

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Jana Hennen-Burr described the initiatives as a powerful tools that are achieving results.

The early release days are in response to added workload of all these initiatives. They are reportedly more popular in other districts than the two-hour late starts that the Elk River Area School District used for professional development. (There are none of those planned for the coming school year.)

“Teachers are taking on more and more, so there has to be some balance,” said Superintendent Mark Bezek at a work session. “These aren’t the end-all solution, but it’s the best solution for now.”

The school district began notifying all school district families July 24.    The 2012–2013 calendar can be accessed at www.elkriver.k12.mn.us/calendar.