School days inch a little bit longer

Menomonee Falls mulls slightly changed calendar

Jan. 14, 2014

Menomonee Falls — The Menomonee Falls School Board is considering slight changes to the school calendar including extending instruction time during the day.

Also under consideration is switching the elementary schools from a quarterly schedule to a trimester to give teachers more time for classroom instruction and less time preparing reports. The board will take action on the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school calendars at the next meeting slated for Jan. 27.

The proposal would add an extra four minutes of instruction time per day at the high school and North Middle School and three minutes of added instruction time at the elementary schools.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction requires 1,050 hours of instruction time at the elementary level. The calendar calls for 1,095 hours of instruction, according to school officials during a presentation to the School Board on Monday.

Board members discussed where the extra minutes will be placed at the middle and high school since the few minutes can only be placed on one period during the day and not split. Possibilities include adding it to the final period of the day or into the Flex period, said Director of Human Resources Christiane Standlee. Despite the addition of three minutes at the start of the elementary school day, busing shouldn't be affected much.

The middle and high school would continue to have a quarterly schedule. However, the elementary schools will be switched to a trimester.

Standlee said feedback from parents has been positive.

"We are trying to allocate more time specifically with the children," she said. "The more reporting requirements we have, meaning on a quarterly basis, it takes more time for the teachers in being away from the students to do reporting and they can give more individualized care to the students."

Scott Walter, principal at Riverside Elementary, said the rationale behind the trimester is to create larger instructional blocks for teachers.

The nuts and bolts of the calendar will remain fairly similar to the current school year as administration worked to keep conference times and early release days as status quo as possible to help parents plan.

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