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Draper Journal

Early-Out Fridays Return Canyons School District Announces New Elementary Schedules

Aug 06, 2015 09:54AM ● By Bryan Scott

Students line up for the first day of school. Photo courtesy of Julie Slama

By Julie Slama

Draper - Canyons School District elementary schools will restore early-out dismissals on Fridays beginning this school year after this past year of eliminating the earlier dismissal times.

The goal also is to provide teachers with the tools they need to help ensure success for every student, Canyons Superintendent James Briscoe said.

Early-out days will be held on Fridays only. School will not release early on other days during short weeks in which classes are not held on Fridays. The newly announced schedule will affect Draper students who attend a Canyons School District elementary.

Draper Elementary students’ schedule Monday through Thursday will be 8:45 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., with Friday schedules releasing students at 1:40 p.m.  Kindergartners will attend school from either 8:45 a.m. to 11:25 a.m. or 12:40 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, with Fridays for two hours starting either at 8:45 a.m. or 11:40 a.m.

Oak Hollow and Willow Springs will have the same schedule, with school beginning at 9 a.m. and being dismissed at 3:35 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and on Fridays, 9 a.m. to 1:55 p.m.  Kindergartners will attend from either 9 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. or 12:55 p.m. to 3:35 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays and on Fridays, for two hours beginning at 9 a.m. or 11:55 p.m.

The unanimous Canyons Board of Education decision was met with cheers and applause from teachers and parents.   

Canyons Board of Education Second Vice President Nancy Tingey said the reduction in instructional time must be replaced with higher-quality instructional time. 

She also sought assurances that collaboration and planning time will be used effectively, and that specialists will provide high-quality, well-planned, standards-based instruction and work closely with classroom teachers to ensure student achievement.

“This is an investment in moving forward student achievement,” Tingey said. “All of this is about helping our students to use these elementary years to lay a strong foundation for their educational experience.”

According to the school board, the new schedule will give teachers time during the school day to collaborate to ensure each student succeeds. Trained specialists will provide curriculum-based instruction in areas such as physical education, arts or music while teachers meet to collaborate and plan their instructional strategies.

“It’s not one-size-fits-all,” School Performance Director Alice Peck said. “Schools are going to be able to look at their needs and tailor the schedule to make sure it fits their school.”

The schedule came from a proposal crafted by the task force, which included teachers from each of Canyons School District’s 29 elementary schools and Jordan Valley School. The task force has met since December 2014 and held public meetings beginning in January.  The school board held discussions on the proposal in February and March.

The new schedule refines elementary education improvement efforts. The 2014-2015 elementary school schedule was adjusted as part of the 2014-2015 teachers contract approved by the Canyons Education Association and ratified by the Canyons Board of Education. The schedule eliminated early-out Fridays to improve teacher planning and instruction, but, according to the school board, it had “unintended consequences” for parents and teachers