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Early Release Days FAQ
Why do we have early release days?
As part of our Strategic Plan and in order to make sure we are providing the best possible instruction to students, our teachers need to be continually learning, growing and sharpening their skills. Setting aside time for teachers, special education professionals, food service professionals and bus drivers to learn and practice is challenging, but very important. Arranging for a large number of substitute teachers to cover classrooms during this time is not feasible, nor is asking teachers and staff members to work additional hours outside of their regular schedule to provide this level of professional learning.
What do teachers and other staff members do during early release days and why is it important?
Professional development in each school is different. Principals and school leaders plan professional learning and professional development for each school year focused on the goals outlined in each school’s Unified Improvement Plan.
Professional development/learning is very important as we develop our teachers to continuously improve their skills in instruction, as well as to stay on the cutting edge of what is beneficial for students’ learning in the classroom.
Other staff members also need time to ensure that they are continually refining their skills in their position as well as staying on top of new information such as safety regulations.
Do we have any evidence that early releases are beneficial for students?
We have seen academic gains from students because of the time our teachers and staff members have spent on professional development. For example, at Cherrelyn Elementary, staff members have spent many professional learning hours focused on STEM education. We have seen significant gains on the science scores from the CMAS (Colorado Measures of Academic Success) assessments since Cherrelyn started this initiative.
Additionally, our elementary schools have spent a substantial amount of time on professional development for literacy skills. From last year to this year, we have seen a significant amount of growth in the English Language Arts scores on the CMAS assessments for third grade students.