Friday, September 19, 2014
Mama on a Budget: Mixed Opinions on “Late Arrival Days”
For those who are not aware, on August 5th, Gene Kirchner (Superintendent of the Fort Thomas Schools) sent a letter to all parents within the district advising parents of a schedule change; rather than have a once-per-month early dismissal day, schools would have a once-per-month late arrival day. The point of early dismissal days was to allow teachers to meet after school for one hour, collaborate, and train in various topics.
Says Kirchner in a follow-up email to FTM in regards to the letter, “We have incorporated the late arrival days in order to create additional time for our teachers to work collaboratively to conduct data analysis, evaluate program effectiveness, implement new initiatives, work on curriculum revision, etc. Finding common time after school has traditionally been the greatest obstacle in accomplishing these important tasks because so many of our teachers also coach sports, sponsor clubs, and/or have families of their own.” Kirchner went on to say that morning meetings with the teaching staff allowed teachers to be fresher and “more productive” as opposed to after school, thus allowing for better collaboration.
Scott Johnson, member of the Fort Thomas Board of Education, says of the change, “The fundamental objective is to promote faculty collaboration across the curriculum. In effect, this allows cross-training of faculty to help them better grasp what is working, what is not working and how best to promote continued Personal Best from the high-end, how to cast our rigorous net deeper and wider for the mainstream, as well as how to execute smart remediation to target those who might be struggling in this or that area, getting them back on academic track or back on their personal best kindergarten to college trajectory.”
Of the mixed reviews and confusion this caused on some parents, Johnson goes on to say, ”To accommodate working parents, the District DID make provisions for normal time drop off / supervision of students for parents who must get to work on time”. In fact, the original letter dated August 5 says in bold print, “Parents who wish to drop their children off at the normal time may do so” and goes on to assure parents that staff will be present to monitor their children. Kirchner followed this up advising, “We are utilizing our instructional assistants to supervise any students who need to report at normal time on those days. We wanted to avoid inconveniencing working parents if possible.”
So, aside from the preschool parents (such as me) who had no idea about the schedule change and were unable to plan for the traffic patterns accordingly, it would appear all parents had ample notice of the change and sufficient accommodations for their original schedule if parents work start-times were inflexible. Emily Anderson, stay-at-home parent with three children in the school system, liked the change- “My kids liked sleeping in as well. Since I'm a stay at home mom, it wasn't a big deal for us. I didn't have to find childcare. We just left an hour later than usual. I would much rather have a late arrival than an early dismissal." Despite the notice and some of the positive comments, some still expressed frustration at the change. Is it that it flies in the face of tradition? Is it concern for leaving their children early just to sit and wait? Is it traffic concerns? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page providing your thoughts on the schedule change.