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Quincy students may start school later on Mondays this fall

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | May 12, 2022 1:20 AM

QUINCY — Quincy schools may start a little later on Mondays in the 2022-23 school year. Quincy School District administrators have requested that school start at 9:30 a.m. Mondays, beginning next school year.

“The teachers and leaders said we really need more time to collaborate in order to get the work done that we need to do,” QSD Director of Teaching and learning Alicen Gaytley said during QSD Board of Directors regular meeting on Tuesday.

Currently, classes start at 9 a.m. on Mondays. If the board approves the change, classes would start at 9:30 a.m. Starting times Tuesday through Friday would remain the same.

Gaytley said district officials asked teachers and administrators what they needed to increase effectiveness. One of the answers was more time for working together, for planning and for teacher training.

“So if we did a two-hour late start on Mondays, it would really allow for a consistent time for teachers to plan how to accelerate learning, and a really consistent time to respond to data,” Gaytley said.

She added that teachers can be more effective when they are able to incorporate conclusions from data in a timely manner.

“When we know what students need, we can do better, especially when it’s (implemented) right away,” she said.

Gaytley originally presented the proposal at the April 26 meeting, and school board members had asked about the impact of delaying the school day on parents in need of child care. Gaytley said Tuesday that district officials had done a survey of parents. About 8% of respondents said it would be tough for them to make arrangements for additional child care. District staff came up with an option to assist those parents facing a timing difficulty as a result of any schedule change.

“We met with K-5 principals because most of the childcare needs were at K-5,” she said. “We all agreed that we could schedule our paraprofessionals to supervise students who needed child care during that time.”

Board member Chris Baumgartner asked if the additional training would include aides and other support staff. Gaytley said district officials are hoping they can include non-teaching staff, and that there is continuing education required for support staff as well as teachers.

“Ideally, if we had a low number of students that need supervision at that time, we would have opportunities for them to have professional learning or join collaboration,” Gaytley said. “So we’re actually hopeful that we won’t have a huge amount of students who need support. Based on the survey data we don’t expect there will be, but we will staff if we need to.”

District superintendent Nik Bergman said district officials have scheduled additional training days for non-teaching staff throughout the year.

In response to a Columbia BasinHerald email, Gaytley said districts are required to teach kids a specified number of minutes over the course of a school year. Quincy exceeds the minimum requirements, she said.

“With the late start on Mondays, we will still be within the minimum instructional minutes required, so we will not need to add any time at a different time of the week,” she wrote.

A final decision on the schedule change is anticipated at the board’s next meeting on May 24.

Cheryl Schweizer may be reached at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.