Early Release Wednesdays
This page will be updated with new information as it becomes available.
UPDATE May 18, 2018:
A Statement From Dr. Bedell
To all KCPS Stakeholders:
After careful consideration and thoughtful deliberation regarding our decision to implement early release on Wednesdays, we do not believe it is in our school system’s families best interest to move forward for the 2018-2019 school year.
Kansas City Public Schools has received a tremendous amount of feedback through our various 2-way communication outlets. Stakeholders have spoken through our website, on social media and email. Overwhelmingly, the feedback supported increased professional development time, but many felt it would cause an unmanageable hardship on families, administrators and staff. As a team, we take pride in listening and responding to all voices. When I accepted this position, I vowed to not place our families in harm’s way. While early release would not create hardships for all of our families, more stakeholders than we are comfortable have expressed concern of an additional burden to find childcare on those days. That added stress is not something our administration wants to place on our families. While we still believe our educators need an increased amount of professional development to move our system forward, we need to make sure, when implemented, there is stability for the students we serve.
Finally, I’d like to thank the Board of Directors for trusting us with the authority and flexibility to make these decisions. We will continue this dialogue with staff, parents and students with the goal of finding solutions for increased professional development time for our educators, while protecting the interest of our families at the same time.
On May 9th, the KCPS School Board approved my recommendation to end our school day 90 minutes early every Wednesday starting in the 2018-2019 academic year in order to provide the professional development our teachers need to ensure that our children are high-achieving critical thinkers prepared to succeed in a constantly changing world and engaged in the improvement of their community. To accommodate this change, there will be no LINC after-school childcare provided on Wednesday afternoons at KCPS sites. While early release Wednesdays are the right direction for KCPS, I understand that it is causing concern for some of our families who are worried about childcare. Please know that we spent time gathering feedback from hundreds of our families across the community and considered all of the costs and benefits of this early-release schedule. On balance, it is very clear to me and my leadership team that this early release schedule to accommodate professional development is absolutely necessary for our schools AND our community. It will bring our professional development in line with other school systems in the region and will help our teachers prepare for the new curriculum, standards and tools that we are bringing to KCPS; it will save us money and reduce our dependence on substitute teachers; and - most importantly - it will help significantly increase our progress towards full accreditation. To those families who are worried about this change, let me reassure you that we will work to provide information and support when it comes to childcare. I also know that our families are resilient and resourceful. Our entire community will reap the long-term rewards of having teachers that are trained up to their full capacity and students who are able to achieve their dreams.
Dr. Mark T. Bedell
Superintendent of Schools
Parents are encouraged to complete a survey in order to provide their input on the early release Wednesday schedule.
What are the benefits of releasing students 90 minutes early on Wednesdays?
Early release Wednesdays will be used to provide high quality professional development for KCPS teachers. This will have a direct and positive impact on student achievement. A 2007 federal Department of Education review of evidence on this topic found that teachers who get an adequate amount of professional development can boost student achievement by 21 percent. In addition, this schedule will mean that regular classroom teachers will remain in class more often instead of being pulled out for professional development during the regular school day, which requires a substitute. It's estimated that regular KCPS teachers will spend 3,300 more days per school year in their classrooms as a result. The additional professional development will also help build a culture of high expectations and increase teacher retention.
How much is this going to cost?
While there is always a price for high quality professional development, this early release schedule will actually have fiscal benefits. It is anticipated that KCPS will save approximately $560,000 as a result of not having to use substitute teachers as much. In addition, the district will spend less money on extra-duty pay for teachers to participate in after-school professional development. Finally, the additional professional development accommodated by this new schedule will help ensure that teachers can use new classroom tools and curriculum more effectively and efficiently.
How will this impact special enrichment classes like art and music?
Currently, the plan is to shorten these classes. KCPS Division of Academics experts are considering ways to provide students with more of these types of experiences. Suggestions from parents via the "Let's Talk" feature on the KCPS website are welcome.
Will LINC still provide before-school childcare on Wednesdays?
Yes, LINC will still provide childcare before-school on Wednesdays. LINC will also continue to provide before- and after-school care on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Why won't LINC after-school care be provided on early release Wednesdays?
Unfortunately, LINC is unable to provide the coverage necessary for the 90-minute gap between the regular and early release time.
How will this affect instructional time for students?
KCPS will continue to meet the state mandate for instructional time with this early release schedule. In fact, the professional development accommodated by this schedule will help increase the quality of instruction that students receive while in class.