Early Out Wednesday
Early out was instituted in the Iron County School District in 1999 to facilitate teacher training and to provide adequate preparation time for teachers to improve student learning and outcomes. It is not intended to give students and educators time out of school. As one East Elementary teacher said:
“The whole reason for early out is to give the teachers time to work together.”
The effectiveness of the teacher is the number one influence on student performance. In order to be effective, teachers must have time to collaborate with other teachers and receive ongoing professional training. Survey results found that parents want teachers to have the best time for collaboration. 79% indicating that if research showed that one day of the week is better than another for early out, they would support the choice. Teacher feedback and attendance data showed that Wednesday was the best day for early out. Nearly 75% of teachers surveyed did not feel they would be productive in staff development on a Friday afternoon. Below are just a few responses from teachers regarding early out Wednesday.
“We need to do what is best for kids and for us teachers, and if most teachers prefer the Wednesday early out, as I do, we should keep it that way.” –East Elementary teacher
“Having a break in the middle of the week I think actually enhances my students’ learning.” – Three Peaks Elementary teacher
“Wednesday early out breaks up the week and gives teachers time to focus on the things we have learned in trainings and collect our thoughts to better prepare for our students.” – Enoch Elementary teacher
“What is best for kids is having them in school with teachers who are up-to-date on the latest teaching strategies and well-prepared to teach to every minute they are in the classroom.” - Parowan Elementary teacher
“Wednesday early out facilitates the best practices in teaching across the board, and is strongly preferred.” –South Elementary teacher
“The purpose is so teachers can get the latest and most up-to-date teaching strategies, programs, collaboration in the grade levels, etc.,” said one South Elementary teacher. Below are just a few examples of what teachers are trained on during early out.
- Modules of Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling. The modules provide teachers with the most current information on teaching language and literacy and the necessary knowledge base needed to teach the new common core curriculum.
- Supporting students in reading more complex text
- Ways to more explicitly teach small group reading instruction
- Teaching informative and explanatory writing
- Differentiated instruction
- Solar and wind power
- Reading intervention for struggling readers
Every school district in the state sets aside time for teacher training and development. The time and day depends on what works best for each individual district. Some, like the Iron County School District, have chosen Wednesday afternoons for this essential development time.
The time used for early out Wednesday is distributed evenly throughout the school year to provide students with the necessary 990 hours of schooling.