Stewart not a fan of early-release Wednesdays in Pinellas County
Add Pinellas County interim superintendent John Stewart to the list of critics of early-release Wednesdays.
The practice of dismissing students one hour early on Wednesdays so that teachers can have time for planning has drawn criticism of parents and others since it was instituted in 2009.
When Tuesday's school board workshop discussion turned to upcoming planning for the 2012-13 school year calendar, board member Robin Wikle asked if there were any issues that needed to be addressed in the new calendar.
At first, no one said anything. Then, Stewart volunteered his view:
"I never miss a chance to say...early release days are not serving the purpose they were originally intended," he said, acknowledging that a change in the schedule is an issue that requires bargaining with the teachers union. "But if we go as a united voice, it's a lot better than if we say some of us think that."
Stewart said this afternoon that he feels the shortened days pose a hardship for families, particularly those of single-parent households. He also said he believes they disrupt student focus on the shorter days and can interrupt instruction.
He said he agrees with the arguments that that teachers need time for staff development and planning, but thinks there are other ways to find that time without affecting student learning or causing problems for families.
"We'll begin that discussion," he said.