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Columbus Schools Opt for 'Normal' Schedule

Posted by Steve Rogers | July 17, 2012 / 09:31am | Local News, Education
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) -- Columbus city schools will use a traditional schedule this fall rather than using a half day Wednesdays for teacher training.

Earlier this summer, the district considered using Wednesday afternoons for professional and curriculum development. 45 minutes would have been added to the other four days to make up the time.

But after parents and teachers complained about the lack of input, the district backed off.

Instead, the school board is expected to approve a schedule Tuesday that will set aside after- and before-school training sessions to avoid conflicting with student schedules.

The issue was hotly debated by superintendents and state Department of Education officials at a statewide superintendents' conference last week.

The state has said it plans to limit the half-day system to two days a year, despite some anecdotal successes in places like the Lowndes County school district, which currently has half days on Wednesdays. The state mandate still demands 60 hours of professional teacher training a year.
"The state has made it clear that unfortunately many school districts abused ERW to the point where the department had to get involved, conduct investigations around the state and sanction schools who were releasing students early for professional development purpose with the teachers following in toe," Columbus Schools Superintendent Martha Liddell said.

"In other words, the kids and teachers were going home within a few minutes of each other in many ERW districts. Paula said her investigations team observed this in several locations and as educators we know that was abuse and wrong. In 2013-2014, more than likely ERW will not be an option.   
"The actions of the few have caused all school districts with increased accountability placed on their heads to find alternate ways to deliver 60 hours minimum of systematic professional development for teachers who will need every minute of it to ensure their students achieve on new common core assessments," Liddell added

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