The Ottumwa Courier

January 16, 2013

District OKs change to early release days

MARK NEWMAN
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa school board approved the 2013-14 school calendar at their Monday night board meeting.

There will be some changes, which will have a positive impact on students, district officials said in a press release Tuesday.

 The change parents may notice first is to a long tradition of early release Wednesdays, which allow teachers to work on professional development. Starting in the fall, that day will move to the third Wednesday of each month.

To gain additional professional development time while maintaining the current level of student instruction, the second change will be during parent-teacher conferences. The district will use the Thursday morning time during fall and winter conferences for professional development.

“Parents prefer afternoon or evening conferences,” said Superintendent Davis Eidahl. “The morning will now be utilized for teacher training.”

Teacher quality training days, funded and required by the state, will be adjusted to provide more professional development between October and February.

By making some adjustments, including moving the traditional Wednesday in-service day, teachers will have two trainings each month for five consecutive months.

“This will allow for more professional collaboration time to view student work, analyze student data, design lessons that incorporate new learning, etc.,” said Eidahl.

It’s also better for kids because this year’s students get the benefit of the new strategies teachers practice at their training, he said.

A press release from the district says there are also similarities to the current calendar, like teacher and student start days, no class the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and spring break the last week of March

The district’s 2013-14 school calendar is now available on the website at www.ottumwaschools.com.