Early Release Thursdays: Confusing but Necessary

Last Year, the SCUSD (Sacramento City Unified School District) started Early Release Thursdays. Schools release students one hour earlier than normal on Thursdays to allow time for teachers to attend mandatory meetings. According to the SCUSD website, these meetings “give teachers dedicated time every week to get together and plan lessons, share ideas and discuss ways to improve instruction.” In practice, however, Early Release schedules have proven confusing to teachers and students alike.
To determine how teachers felt on this issue, I polled several teachers, asking them if they thought Early Release Thursdays were productive. Of those I polled, the large majority supported the policy: 20 of the 32 teachers polled said that Early Release Thursdays were productive, the information gained by the meetings was worth the confusing class times. Of the remaining teachers polled, 6 said they thought Early Release Thursdays were not productive, and the other 6 teachers were undecided.
As a student, I enjoy that Early Release Thursdays provide us with extra time on Thursdays to meet up, or work on projects, or just relax. However, the Early Release bell has been known to catch teachers off guard, often in the middle of a lesson. While this was humorous for a while, it has gotten old fast.
Mr. Warren, a biology teacher, was particularly frustrated with the Early Release system. “It shortens my class!” he told the Prospector. “My students would be better served by me teaching them rather than by me being in a meeting.”
Whether or not we like the Early Release policy, it seems to be here to stay for the time being. And although the shortened periods can be very confusing and annoying, most CKM teachers agree that the informative staff meetings are worth the large inconveniences the system can cause.
Plus, some extra leisure time for students each week doesn’t hurt.

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