Early release Wednesdays provides benefits to students and staff

Replacing late start Tuesday, releasing students 90 minutes early provides teachers time to plan and collaborate


Grace Hunt

Students walk down Green Street after early release on Wednesday outside of the Freshman Campus. This year is the first year that MCHS is releasing students early on select Wednesdays.

Grace Hunt, Contributing Writer

A student waits with anticipation for the last bell on a Wednesday. When it rings, all the students rush out of the building excited to be out of school early. They head home or grab a snack before sports practice or clubs. Teachers begin to prepare in the quiet building for the team meetings ahead of them. It’s this allotted 95 minutes that everyone can find productivity on early-release-Wednesdays.

Two Wednesdays a month, MCHS has early release. Students at the Freshman Campus are dismissed at 1:04 p.m., and the Upper Campus is dismissed 1:14 p.m. Teachers use the allotted time for team meetings.

This concept replaces late-start-Tuesdays, when school began at a later start time. Students had the opportunity for an extra hour of sleep, and teachers attended their meetings in the morning.

“It is really valuable,” said Tony Powell, AP Human Geography and World History teacher. “Because, often times, we don’t really get a whole lot of time to meet with one another to make the changes to the course, to make it better, more efficient and more student friendly.”

The concept behind early release Wednesdays and late start Tuesdays is to allow staff members a consistent time to analyze student performance data in relation to common curriculum. The dedicated time is used in academic division course team meetings to allow teachers to collaborate and discuss student achievements, and plan ways to improve student outcomes.

“I do like early release with sports. We can go to a coffee shop or a restaurant, you know, which is nice to have a break before practice,” said freshman Chloe Clark. “It can be annoying to come back to school, but it’s nice to have a break.”

Students have the option to use this time to complete homework, study, and recharge. More importantly, students can use this time to be productive.

“On early release Wednesdays I will go get a coffee and relax before I have to go to dance practice,” junior Raegan DuHamel said.

The feedback regarding the switch from late start Tuesdays to early release Wednesdays was positive for parents and faculty, according to Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Innovation, Carl Vallianatos. Students, however, have said they would rather have an extra hour of sleep.

“I’m playing two sports right now, so I get exhausted,” Clark said. “So it’d be nice to sleep in a little bit, you know, have more time in the morning.”

There were several factors that resulted in the switch from late-start-Tuesday to early-release-Wednesdays. The primary reason was transportation couldn’t be altered in the mornings, so it left students unproductive at school, early, on late start days. Early release doesn’t oppose this issue. Buses are able to transport all students home, so students don’t have a disadvantaged experience.

“We liked the fact that everyday at [District 156] starts at the same time,” Vallianatos said. “It is hard to get students out of bed and to school, and the different times on Tuesdays did not help the structure for teenagers.”

The other key benefit for aerly release Wednesdays is that it protects students’ routine. School at the Freshmen Campus starts at 7:25 a.m. and at the Upper Campus 7:35 a.m. everyday, allowing for more consistency.

Vallianatos added that arly release Wednesdays, “are essential for the curricular planning of our teachers and the success of our students in very subtle ways.”

The athletes come back to the quiet school ready to focus at practice, and the teachers begin to pack up and head home. Students used the provided 95 minutes for a beneficial break, while teachers used it to plan and grow for tomorrow. Early release Wednesdays allow for a dedicated time for everyone to find productivity.