T&G board approves early release day

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DORSET — The Taconic and Green Regional School District took care of some annual housekeeping Tuesday and introduced an upcoming change at its meeting at The Dorset School.

The board heard a proposal from superintendent Jackie Wilson about a plan to have an early release one day a week to give teachers time for professional development.

Wilson said, in comments to the board, she hears from teachers that there is not enough time for professional development and collaborative planning time.

The idea is to dismiss students at 1:30 p.m. one day a week to give teachers two hours of professional time each week.

The day of the week has not yet been determined and Wilson said she is working with principals to determine which day would work best.

She said the early dismissal would not take place during JISP months and schools would still provide after-school programs.

Board members generally agreed with the idea of providing teachers with development time, but several had questions about the amount of class time students would miss.

Heidi French asked if it took instruction time away from students and Jackie said yes, it would, but she thought teachers desperately needed the time.

"It's a pretty serious impact to the teaching day," said board member Mark Kaplan.

And board member Jay Ouellette said that he believed that while students would get less classroom instruction time, what they received would be better.

"Good prep goes a lot farther," Ouellette said. "Even though they may be taught less time they're getting more quality instruction."

The board also had a short discussion about pre-K as the board approved sending a letter Jim Salsgiver and others had collaborated on expressing the board's positions on the issue.

"The letter is intended to outline our problems and really make it clear exactly what the problems are, and give some indication of things we'd like to see changed," Salsgiver said.

Several board members offered recommendations for changes, which Salsgiver said he would work to incorporate into the letter before sending it.

On the pre-K front, the board is holding a special meeting on pre-K at 7 p.m. Monday, March 18, in the Jackie Parks Room at Manchester Elementary Middle School.

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at  802-681-6534.

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