School board OKs more early dismissals

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 12, 2001

Natchez-Adams students will have more free hours next year as early dismissals become a weekly routine. The Natchez-Adams School Board voted Thursday in favor of early student dismissals every Wednesday to allow time for staff development.

&uot;It gives (the teachers) some time in the middle of the day to get better at what they have to do,&uot; said Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis.

During the current year, the school district held early dismissals the second and fourth Wednesday of every month with much success.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;We believe this has been a real help to the teachers,&uot; Davis said.

In addition to allowing time for staff development, teachers said the extra early dismissals would allow more time for classroom planning, grade-level meetings and parent conferences

It will also allow extra time to implement such programs as the Barksdale Reading Institute.

&uot;I feel that the 60-percent day is very necessary,&uot; said Gloria Warren, a teacher at Central Alternative School.

In a recent survey, 245 teachers said a weekly early dismissal would be a wise decision while only 13 said it would not be wise.

Camille Jackson, a former teacher and a school board member, said she supported the change since students will still receive at least the amount of instruction-time required by the state.

&uot;I don’t have any problem with it myself because I know they need that time,&uot; Jackson said.

Board President Kenneth Taylor said with changes in technology, grants and curriculum he also could support the early dismissals.

&uot;Early dismissal allows time for training,&uot; he said.

His one concern was the permanency of the early dismissal days.

The board decided to review the policy each semester to judge if it was successful.

Having early dismissal every week will also mean less confusion for parents in keeping track of which Wednesdays students will be released early, officials said.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, the board voted 4-1 not to hire Dr. Hines Cronin, associate dean of education with Delta State University. as a consultant to examine the district’s new curriculum.

&uot;(It was) just a difference in when is the proper time to have the consultant come in,&uot; said Taylor, who was the only board member to vote to hire the consultant.

Several of the board members thought the board should wait at least a few months.

&uot;I just thought it was to early for that evaluation based on the data that was on the table,&uot; said Dr. Norris Edney.

The district has been using district staff to update its curriculum and recently purchased a $270,900 software package to serve as resource to the curriculum, Davis said.

&uot;The consultant to me will help us evaluate our job from an outside point of view,&uot; Davis said.

The curriculum is the centerpiece of instruction and not everybody understands how a curriculum is developed, Davis said.