Parents want early release changed

The newly formed Student Parent Coalition told the Dolores School Board of Education recently that the early release Wednesdays should be rescheduled.

"We discovered early release is a huge, huge problem, because we have kids who are not participating," said Lenetta Shull, with the Student Parent Coalition.

This school year, the early release Wednesdays were introduced for the first time. Every Wednesday, students are released at the elementary and secondary levels at 2 p.m. so teachers can participate in professional learning communities or PLCs, during which teachers work on improving instruction and identifying students that need help.

The Student Parent Coalition action plan, presented by Shull at the Dec. 18 board meeting, has only met three times before presenting the action plan.

"Early release Wednesdays are a burden on parents of elementary students," Shull said.

Every Wednesday this year, school lets out at 2 p.m. and buses run. An after-school kid camp is offered for students that need it at $5 a week, but parents still need to pick up their children, Shull said.

Shull asked the board to move the PLCs to the morning, which would allow the buses to run on schedule.

Shull recommended moving the PLCs from the current time at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays to 7 a.m. on Mondays.

Shull said the parent coalition volunteered to supply breakfast for the teachers on those mornings.

"The early release program was a program to help our students in trouble," said Shull.

Even in middle school, parents have to pick up kids, the students have to stay there and go to study hall or hang out in town.

Shull hoped to find out if academic eligibility increased since the implementation of the early release Wednesdays.

Board members did not comment on the plan Dec. 18, but board member Jon Kelly made a motion at the end of the Dec. 18 meeting to discuss the plan at the next meeting, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. in the professional development room behind the School District Office, 100 N. 6th Street.