Lexington-Richland Five reviews early release, late-start plan for middle schools

ColaDaily.com 

Middle school students in Lexington-Richland School District Five might be getting out early and starting late next year on select days.

Principals Gerald Gary of Dutch Fork Middle School and Jess Hutchinson of CrossRoads Middle School brought a recommendation to the school board Monday for a new early release and late-start plan. All middle schools in the district, including CrossRoads Middle, Chapin Intermediate, Chapin Middle, Dutch Fork Middle and Irmo Middle, are affected.

The plan has middle school grades falling in line with high school and elementary students who already have early release and late start days worked into their schedule.

Chapin Middle, Dutch Fork Middle and Irmo Middle would go in an hour late six days a year coinciding with the high school late-start days. Students at CrossRoads Middle and Chapin Intermediate, fifth- and sixth-graders, would follow the elementary early release schedule six days a year.

The proposal would give middle school teachers more opportunities to plan instruction with one another and participate in professional development.

“If there’s one thing a teacher doesn’t have enough of in a day, it’s time,” said board member Jan Hammond.

Gary said there would be an impact on parents, but many would have an easier time since they also have students at the high school or elementary level who are going in late or being released early now.

Students’ instructional time still would exceed the state requirement with the adjusted schedules. Chief Instructional Officer Christina Melton said high schools use their late start hours for things like leadership programs and tutoring.

The school board did not vote on the proposal Monday, but members do plan to take action at the next board meeting. Hutchinson said the proposal had been approved by School Improvement Councils at the middle schools.

Monday’s discussion follows that of Richland School District Two where teachers asked the board to retain six early release days for planning.

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