Highline Public Schools’ message to families: Early release most Fridays

Highline Public Schools asked if we would help get this message out to its families before school starts – versions of this letter will be going out, with customized information for each school, but this is the basic message:

We want you to be aware of a change in our school schedule. This year, school will be dismissed 90 minutes early on most Fridays. This will replace the half-day Wednesday schedule and most of the non-student “waiver” days we have had in past years. Overall, the amount of time students will spend out of the classroom is comparable to past years.

After students are dismissed on Fridays, teachers will use the time for training, professional development, and collaboration. The 90-minute sessions, called Professional Collaboration Time (PCT), will include activities such as learning new and better ways to deliver instruction, analyzing student work together, and sharing ideas and plans that will improve student performance. While you might not expect that giving time off school could lead to increased student learning, research shows that time invested in teacher training and improvement of instruction does indeed result in improved student achievement.

Students must be dismissed early in order to provide time for teacher learning and collaboration within teachers’ state-funded work day.

We recognize that shortened school days impact families and parents’ work schedules. The school district surveyed parents and teachers, and the majority preferred a weekly early release of less than two hours, versus a less frequent but longer block of time as we have had in the past.

The most significant impact will be to families of half-day Kindergarteners. Morning and afternoon classes will alternate attending school every other Friday. On Fridays, Kindergarteners will be on the same schedule as students in grades 1-6.

For example, on September 18, morning Kindergarteners will attend school the same hours as grades 1-6; afternoon Kindergarteners will have no school. On the following Friday, afternoon Kindergartners will attend school with grades 1-6; morning Kindergarteners will have no school.

We hope the consistency of the weekly early release will be beneficial for students, families, and teachers.

You can find out more at the Highline website – hsd401.org. Wednesday, September 9, is the first day of the school year – three weeks from today.


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