Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, the Chehalis School District’s weekly schedule will include a 90-minute early release period on Wednesdays to give teachers additional time for professional development, the district announced last week.
The early release period, called “Professional Academic Work for Success” (PAWS) by the district, will replace the early release days currently spread throughout the district calendar.
Chehalis teachers and administrators intend to use the early release period to focus on professional development, collaboration and the formation of Professional Learning Teams at each school, according to the district. Those teams will spend time examining student achievement data and designing instruction and intervention to help students be successful.
Having scheduled time for lesson planning and professional development was the topic of discussion during regular and scheduled negotiations between the Chehalis School District and Chehalis Educators Association, the district stated in a news release.
“Jointly, we have agreed to provide teachers additional time during their work day to plan instruction and prepare instructional strategies directly impacting student achievement,” Assistant Superintendent Trisha Smith said in a written statement.
“Although this was a topic which came out of union bargaining, we are all in agreement that this schedule change will allow us to have a greater impact on teacher growth and thus impact student achievement,” Director of Student Achievement Rick Goble said in a prepared statement.
“To help students reach their full potential, and ensure they are prepared for post-secondary opportunities, we must invest in careful planning and connect the daily work of improving instruction to our teachers’ ongoing professional learning,” Chehalis School District Superintendent Dr. Christine Moloney said.
In an effort to involve others in the implementation of the planning period, the district joined CEA in conducting a survey of parents. Over 750 parents participated, with 73% preferring an early release to a late start, according to the Chehalis School District.