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School calendar must prove itself by boosting scores
We tend to agree with the president of the McCook school board, who said he is a firm believer in the "butts-in-the-seats learning" concept when it comes to learning.
Other school officials and teachers may also agree, but they're making more time for teacher training, approving a 2011-12 school calendar that includes six all-day teacher in-service or work days and 16 early dismissals for putting teachers' butts in the seats.
Teachers who attended Monday night's meeting favored the "enhanced" calendar, saying twice-a-month early dismissals would give them a chance to collaborate on educational strategies and assessments on a regular basis and share information.
To be fair, the new schedule adds an hour to the day at the end of each quarter, with dismissal at 2 p.m. instead of the current 1 p.m. Plus, the administration hopes to add class time by sharing hosting duties for the annual Nebraska School Activities Association music contests, which close school to classes for two days in May.
The board president said he remembered when "early-outs" in calendars of the past wound up applying to teachers as well as students, but suggested that might be attributed to lack of administrative accountability as well.
We trust teachers, administrators and staff will keep their word when they say they'll use the time wisely, and that by this time next year, student scores will reflect the improvement promised.
If not, it will be a good time to restore more "butts-in-the-seats" time for students and return the collaborative strategy sessions to the teachers' lounge.