SCHOOLS: Opinions differ on value of early release days

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By Candis Carpenter

Not all LaRue County teachers like the district’s early release policy.
This school year, students are being released at 1:30 p.m. (1:15 p.m. for elementary students) to provide more planning and training time to teachers. Early surveys indicated support from teachers and parents for the practice but the gap appears to be narrowing.
At last Tuesday’s school board meeting, the results of a new parent-teacher survey were announced.
Parent surveys were given at each school so students could not take the surveys on their parent’s behalf. Out of the 215 completed surveys, 56 percent of parents were in favor of early release, while 44 percent were against it. According to Instructional Supervisor Denise Skaggs, early release on every Friday was the overall preference of parents.
 Teacher surveys varied drastically between different schools.
LaRue County High School was very favorable of early release, while Hodgenville Elementary and LaRue County Middle were “in the middle.” Abraham Lincoln Elementary surveys showed that the teachers do not like the early release program, with reasons such as “loss of instructional time” and “concerns about it being every Friday”.
Skaggs told board members to “keep in mind” that the survey was given on the week that school was “cancelled several days due to snow.”
LCHS Principal, Paul Mullins said, “We’re really in favor of it at the high school ... I’ve always been in favor of it.”
Mullins said early release time helps jump-start different ideas faster than if they were not to have that time.
Board member Dick Greenwell said “I don’t know that every Friday is the right balance ... this (early release) is a large investment).”
A follow up survey is planned for later in the year.