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Pasco students get out of school early Wednesday

It’s the district’s first early release day.
Pasco County teachers Kaitlyn Geddes and Kevin Knibbs attend a planning session before classes begin for 2019-20. Their district is starting to have monthly early release days to give all teachers more concentrated planning time.
Pasco County teachers Kaitlyn Geddes and Kevin Knibbs attend a planning session before classes begin for 2019-20. Their district is starting to have monthly early release days to give all teachers more concentrated planning time. [ JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times Staff Writer ]
Published Sep. 10, 2019

Families in nearby Hillsborough and Hernando counties have dealt for years with their children leaving school early on a regular basis, so teachers can have a dedicated and uninterrupted planning and training time.

Pasco County joins in this month. Its first early release day arrives on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

Students’ courses will end two hours earlier than usual, so teachers and staff can get “professional development” and prepare for student needs, without having to find substitute teachers or work after hours.

These days will occur once monthly throughout the year.

In social media, some parents have raised questions about why this is happening. Many offered support for the idea, recognizing how hard teachers work for their children.

A few called the set-up an inconvenience or hardship on working parents.

District officials noted that they first started talking about early release days in the winter, and approved them in March. They have sent several reminders home — The latest one went out Monday — including information about the after-school care programs available at the schools.

Athletes will be provided supervised study halls if they stay on campus while awaiting practice or games.