The Wright City R-II school district board of education will also end the early release on Wednesdays.
The Wright City R-II Board of Education approved a recommendation from district administration to move their Wednesday early release to a late start on Mondays to assist teachers with collaboration time.
The Board voted 6-1 in favor of a motion to proceed with a 75-minute late start on Mondays with the addition of starting childcare at 7 a.m.
The decision was made after discussion at the last two R-II board meetings and multiple committee meetings and a survey, which led to the recommendation from administration to the board. One of the main reasons for the recommendation was elementary teachers were losing collaboration time on Wednesday early releases.
Providing childcare was one of the main points of discussion during the past two board meetings. The board discussed whether to add time for childcare in the morning and whether to expand it to the middle school, which will include fifth graders next year. The board also discussed adding 15 minutes to collaboration time and leaving it on Wednesday afternoons.
Wright City R-II Assistant Superintendent Dr. Doug Smith said there would be challenges in getting aftercare provided beyond elementary school for both the late start on Mondays and the early out on Wednesdays. He noted the trade off of adding another grade level of students in the community for an extra hour on Wednesday afternoons if they proceeded with the Wednesday early release. He said there have been issues with district students on early release days.
Board Member Kyle Lewis, who was the lone board member to vote against the motion, believes the administration should have a solution to bring to the board.
“I understand the constraint, but the constraint can’t be for 6 a.m. to the afternoon too,” Lewis said. “There has to be some sort of solution that the administration team can bring forward. Whether it’s financial or incentive or something…”
Board Secretary Dave Mikus thought the board, who discussed the topic for well over one hour at the most recent meeting, was “way in the weeds here.” From his perspective, the board was questioning every move the administration was going to make after the board would make their decision.
“They’ve come to us. They said that we need to move it to Monday,” Mikus said. “That’s the best day. It’s the best time for teachers. But we’re here nitpicking. The administrators are going to take care of these kids before, after, whenever they got to take care of them. And we’re nitpicking this till 10 o’clock at night. And I think we need to leave it up to the administrators to do their job.”
Board Vice President Erin Williams supported the late start on Mondays if the district could move up before school childcare at the elementary level. She said she would rather deal with issues for a couple of students in the morning than having fifth graders out an hour early on Wednesday.
“I would be more prone to going with the model that our administrators have chosen,” Williams said. “Again, I do believe that at the end, this is what’s best for kids with the amount of impact time and data time that we’re going to be able to have.”
District administration also fielded an idea to hold collaboration time on select Fridays and not hold school on those days.
This would prevent district teachers from having weekly collaboration meetings, Smith stressed.
“That was part of our study group consideration,” Smith said. “But the immediacy of again, our impact teams, the immediacy of teaching assessing, using that data to make a change in my teaching approach the next day. And having those weekly meetings to analyze that information and adapt instruction on the fly has really proven very beneficial to our students in their learning.”