Mason School Board considers later Wednesday start times

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Mason High School is one of the many schools in the district who will take part in the Wednesday morning late start for the implementation of Professional Learning Programs. Photo by Madelyn Scroggie 

By Madelyn Scroggie
The Mason Times

Mason, Mich. – The Mason School Board is considering moving Wednesday morning start times back one hour to provide extra time for teacher collaboration.

Superintendent Ronald Drzewicki said that one option for providing job-embedded learning for teachers is to schedule one hour of professional development on a weekly basis.

The weekly training would be part of a program called Professional Learning Communities, which the School Board is considering launching next fall.

The idea of Professional Learning Communities is to give teachers time to work together on improving their teaching to help improve student achievement.

“It is based on the idea that educators need embedded time to focus on student learning, building a collaborative culture, as well as examining and improving student results,” Drzewicki said.

The superintendent said teachers work in teams focusing on how to improve learning through three critical questions: What is it we want all students to learn? How will we know when they have learned it? And what will we do when some students learn it and others do not?

The Board of Education approved the District’s Strategic Plan to improve teacher collaboration in all school levels: Elementary, Middle, and High School in December 2015.

“One priority in the Strategic Plan is to establish Professional Learning Communities in the district,” said Drzewicki.

Drzewicki said he strongly supports a culture of collaboration and believes Professional Learning Committees will make an already strong teaching staff stronger.

“I am excited about the possibility of creating a vehicle where our outstanding educators have time to achieve mutual goals and strive to reach our vision of being an exemplary learning community,” said Drzewicki.

School board Secretary Laura Fenger said that she also supports Professional Learning Communities.

“Any time that teachers and administrators are learning more about how to teach, how to connect with students and how to improve education, is a good thing,” said Fenger.

Mason High School Principal Lance Delbridge is aware of the possibility of a one hour late start on Wednesdays for the 2016-2017 school year.

“I think a late start provides teachers with opportunities to collaborate and conduct work that we currently do not have adequate time for,” said Delbridge. “Many other schools have done similar work. Some have had good success and others have fallen short.

Delbridge thinks strong planning and will determine how successful this initiative will be.

“I am optimistic that this proposed change could assist teachers and administrators in helping students make additional progress toward their academic goals,” said Delbridge.

Professional Learning Committees may be implemented this fall. However, no decisions have been made for the 2016-17 school year.

Community members that want to be apart of these discussions are welcome at the next Community & Staff Relations Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at 4:15 p.m.

“We are only at the discussion stage,” said Drzewicki.

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