Early Release Affects Students, Teachers

Beginning the 2009 school year, students in Wake County Public Schools will be dismissed one hour earlier, at 1:30, every Wednesday throughout the school year. Also,  on six chosen Wednesdays (Sept. 23, Oct. 21, Dec. 2, Feb. 3, March 10, April 21) students will get out at noon, two and a half hours earlier than normal. The new early release policy may benefit or cause problems for students and teachers.

Although students are able to leave the campus early teachers must stay on the school’s campus until at least the normal dismissal time at 2:30. Although it may seem pointless for teachers to continue to stay at school it actually can help tremendously.

With no wild, out of control teenagers running around teachers are able to get much needed work done. The extra time acts like another planning session each week which can save the curriculum; teachers collaborate about what projects maybe be better for a certain topic.

Another big reason for the one hour early release is to provide time for teachers to participate in the Professional Learning Community (PLC) collaboration. The PLC is a program allowing teachers teaching the same subject to plan together. In earlier years scheduling conflicts disrupted the PLC meetings. Coaches had practices and teachers had meetings, so it was almost impossible to have everyone come to a meeting at the same time. Now, teachers can express their ideas to better the curriculum ultimately helping students have better academic success.

Students on the other hand can benefit from this early release in a variety of ways. Sam Floyd, senior, works at a local pool off Capital Blvd. “It is nice getting out of school earlier; I can get to work earlier so it is an eleven extra bucks for me!” Floyd said. The earlier dismissal allows students with jobs to arrive at work one hour earlier than they would any other school day. The student can work an extra hour making a few more dollars.

School athletes will have one extra hour before practice begins. Upperclassmen can go home if they have a ride off campus, but most underclassmen that do not drive to school have no choice but to stay on campus. During this time period the student athletes must either be with a faculty member or must report to the cafeteria for study hall.

Students can benefit by getting some of their work done before heading to a practice; most practices last at least two hours but some last even longer taking up the whole afternoon. Now the student athletes can do their homework as well as get to bed at a decent hour. Lastly, if students have nothing to do after school they can simply hang out with their friends longer.

The early release can also be a burden to students as well. On select Wednesdays where the elementary school and middle school have an early release busses can get backed up. Students riding these busses now have to wait up to thirty minutes for their bus to come. The bus riders are put in the media center until their bus arrives.

For Scott Kreis, freshmen, JV soccer player, the early release only weighs him down. “I have to carry around my books and my soccer bag the whole time,” Kreis said. Students who, for any reason, must leave the campus can transfer the burden to their parents. Parents may be forced to drive all the way to get their child from school, be forced to drive all the way home, and then have to drive all the way back again, all in the matter of one hour.

The new early release schedule has been created for the greater good of helping out students and teachers. Although it has a few setbacks, the early release days prove worthy for students and teachers to spend more time improving their academic abilities.

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