Flex days for staff work: Early dismissal preferred by staff and parents

It’ll be early dismissals, not later school starts, when the Ridgefield Public Schools have “flex days” for staff professional development — teacher training — over the next two years.

Following a survey that found it was the preference of both parents and staff, Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Collins told the Board of Education’s April 8 meeting that he would go with early dismissal for staff development days on the 2019-20 and 2020-21 calendars.

Craig Creller, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, told the board a survey had found early dismissal days were the “overwhelming” choice, with 90 percent of staff and 81 percent of parents preferring them to late arrival on the monthly “flex days.”

The 2019-20 calendar has seven flex days scheduled, all Thursdays: Sept. 12. Oct. 10, Dec. 10, Jan. 9, Feb. 13, March 12, April 16. The school year is projected to runs from Aug. 29, 2019, to June 11, 2020.

The 2020-21 calendar has seven Thursday flex days: Sept. 10, Oct. 8, Dec. 10, Jan. 7, Feb. 11 March 11, April 9. The year: Aug. 27, 2020 to June 11, 2021.

Creller said Thursdays were the choice of staff for flex days, but the majority of parents liked Fridays for flex days. The days set as professional development had been determined when the calendars were approved last spring.

Board member Fran Walton said half-days on Fridays might encourage families to take a long weekend.

“I do think attendance would go down if had professional development days on Friday,” she said.

Creller said 370 of 497 teachers and administrators, or 75 percent of staff, and 1,559 of 5,128 or 30 percent of parents, had responded to the survey — remarkable good response levels, he said.

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