Uinta Meadows Elementary
Principal, Jerrod Dastrup
90 Cheyenne Drive Evanston, Wyoming 82930
Phone: (307) 789-8098
Fax: (307) 789-3426
April 9, 2018
Dear Uinta Meadows Parents/Guardians,
Uinta County School District #1 had a committee comprised of administrators and teachers studying the possibility of changing the district calendar in an effort to increase student learning. They discussed Parent Teacher Conferences, Professional Development (PD) for staff, and many other issues pertaining to the UCSD #1 calendar. One of the suggestions was to change from the nine 1/2 day PD days to an early morning PD model.
Starting times for school on Monday would be delayed by one hour, bus routes would be delayed by one hour, and breakfast times delayed by one hour. Certified staff (teachers, nurses, counselors, etc) would be asked to come in thirty minutes before their current contract time to participate in PD. The idea was discussed with staff to identify pros and cons.
The proposed change was unanimously approved during the February 13, 2018 UCSD #1 School Board Meeting. Discussions with staff at all buildings will continue to take place to work out the details as we are dedicated to provide meaningful PD for staff. We will also ensure that students who get dropped off at UME on Mondays between 8:00am-9:30am will receive quality, before school interventions, enrichments and other activities.
One of the critical components to success and achievement for students is a well crafted master schedule. In order to improve the education in UCSD #1 we ought to review the district calendar on a yearly basis. For many years staff and parents have voiced their frustrations with 1/2 day PDs, especially because they are right before holidays. In a staff survey that was adminstered in the Spring of 2016-17 staff were asked to vote as to whether or not they wanted to continue with 1/2 day PDs or try something different. The results of the survey showed that 1/3 of the district staff did not respond, 1/3 wanted to keep 1/2 day PDs, the other 1/3 said they wanted a change. Because the results were so divided, Superintendent Thomas decided to table this until November of the 2017-18 school year.
Superintendent Thomas put together a district calendar committee that was comprised of one administrator and staff member from every building and department. This committee met five times to discuss potential calendar options. During the first meeting it was clear that our conversations would be focused around what we want our parent teacher conferences (PTCs) and PDs to look like. Both of these greatly impact our district calendar. Having input around these items was a starting point for building our district calendar for the 2018-19 school year. Changing PD will have the greatest impact on the district calendar. The committee broke off into groups, had meaningful discussions, and it became clear that PDs need to be more meaningful, relevant, frequent, ongoing, and support the work that is being done in teacher Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). The committee decided that we need to have as many full (five day) weeks as possible, without the interuptions of 1/2 day Fridays. UCSD#1 will no longer have 1/2 day Friday PDs.
This led us to a discussion around two options-- delayed start or early release professional development. After school PD on any day of the week is ineffective for elementary and secondary teachers. Many of our teachers are coaches and therefore unable to attend meetings and PD after school. Many of our teachers/staff also teach After- School Enrichment. We can’t have a successful After-School Enrichment Program while having well attended and meaningful PDs after school.
Administration has done extensive research around attendance. Wednesdays are the highest attended days of the week, therefore it is not a good day for students to miss time. Tuesdays are the next highest attended days followed by Thursdays. Mondays and Fridays have the worst attendance rates. Mondays also have the highest rate for tardies, so it seems like this would be a good day of the week to give kids some additional time to get to school.
The committee came to consensus that we cannot have PDs after school, during the traditional 1/2 day PD model, or before school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. That led the committee to a discussion around a Monday or Friday delayed start PD option. Most schools have connections/staff meetings to begin the week on Mondays. There would no longer have to be an additional meeting for connections if we met on Mondays for PD. Setting the tone for the week on a Monday while staff are fresh and planning for the upcoming week, allowing staff and teams to meet together, made it clear that Mondays were the better choice. All schools will be delayed by one hour.
Delayed Start Mondays (one hour delay)
We understand that many UME parents go to work before the school day begins. Early Birds will still open at 8:00am. To plan effectively for Early Birds we need to know two things: 1) which children will be coming, 2) at approxiamtely what time? UME’s initial plan will be to group students by grade level and have rotations led by paras/aides. Early Birds could include, but is not limited to, rotations of: interventions, enrichments, free time, computers, gym, homework, etc. Teachers will review the list of students who are planning on attending in order to provide opportunites during Early Birds that are most beneficial for your child. This will not be like After-School Enrichment where you have to sign-up in order to attend. We will accept any student who shows up between 8:00-9:30am. At 9:30am all students will go to recess or to the cafeteria for breakfast. Knowing who is coming and at what time will make it much more beneficial for your child.
We would greatly appreciate you returning this form by Friday, May 4 2018, with the requested information so we can plan effectively. Thank you!
Early Birds Request - 2018-19
Early Bird Time (approximate): 8:00am 8:15am 8:30am 8:45am 9:00am 9:15am