School calendar must prove itself by boosting scores

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

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.

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  • The purpose of the allocated time is to foster improvement in teaching/instruction and ultimately student achievement. Teachers need time to work together to create lessons and assessments that ensure standards are being taught and benchmarks are being met. The MPS mission statement states "It is the mission of the McCook Public Schools community to equip all student to succeed in a complex global society." Time is needed for classroom teachers, SPED, assistive tech, speech, ELL, and other groups to work together (k-12) to implement best teaching practices for ALL students. Hopefully, everyone wants improvement in their own personal lives as well as careers. Why would we want to complain about teachers trying to make improvements for the youth of this community?

    According to the above mission statement, It is the mission of the MPS "Community" to equip all students to succeed. I think it's time we all start working together rather than critiquing time set aside for making our school system better.

    -- Posted by HuskerFanJB on Wed, Mar 16, 2011, at 8:26 PM
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