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MLS start time to be reconsidered

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Faced with state cutbacks on teacher in-service days and an inequity in planning time between Mills Lawn teachers and their counterparts at Yellow Springs High School/McKinney School, Superintendent Norm Glismann believes he has figured out a solution to a lack of Mills Lawn teacher planning time. He wants to present his idea to parents at a committee-of-the-whole meeting in the Mills Lawn gym on Thursday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m., he told the school board at its Sept. 11 meeting.

Citing this year’s reduction by the state in waiver days from five to four and a further reduction to three planned for next year, Glismann said in an invitation sent out to all Mills Lawn School parents that a reduction in “waiver days” will severely limit common planning time for Mills Lawn teachers.

With the later start time at YSHS/McKinney that was instituted a couple of years ago, teachers there have 45 minutes of common planning time available at the start of every school day that Mills Lawn teachers do not because their teaching day starts earlier. According to Glismann, research indicates a very strong correlation between common planning time for teachers and increased student achievement.

“The planning that takes place during these days helps the teachers to better assist our students in being successful in the classroom,” he said. “Options available to create planning time for MLS teachers are limited.”

The solution Glismann envisions involves a new interpretation of the school bus policy. Last June, Glismann pointed out to the school board that the district provides more bus service than it is required to by its own current policy. By strictly enforcing that policy, ridership would be reduced to a level where all students kindergarten through 12 could be bused together, thereby allowing a later start time at MLS as well as saving the district money.

“Currently four bus routes pick up and drop off students at MLS, and the routes are essentially duplicated to transport students to and from McKinney/YSHS,” Glismann said. “If all students (kindergarten through 12) were picked up at the same time on each of the four routes, the start time at MLS could be pushed back approximately one hour to create common planning time for MLS teachers.”

Current board policy states that the district will provide bus transportation to MLS students who live more than .75 miles from the school and to McKinney/YSHS students who live more than 1.5 miles from their school. The state requirements are even more stringent. However, according to Glismann, the district is currently busing 74 MLS students and 119 McKinney/YSHS students who live inside the mileage limits. Savings from busing only eligible students would amount to approximately $15,000, he said.

“Obviously, any change in the daily schedule and/or a change in the busing arrangements would impact each family,” Glismann wrote in the invitation to parents. “For this reason, the Board of Education would like to hear your thoughts on these options. For the beginning of the school year, all school start and end times will be the same as last year’s, and all busing arrangements will also stay the same as last year. Please take time to attend the meeting on Sept. 25.”

Additional school board business can be found on page 12 in the print edition of the Yellow Springs News.


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