Half day? Try a two-thirds day. This year, to the disappointment of many students, half days have been extended to an 11:45 release time.

While many are upset simply because this means more school, others have more logistical issues with the new setup. Some teachers are forced to leave early to pick up elementary school children. Other students were put at odds when siblings they usually picked up from the bus stop were arriving home before they were.

Mrs. Emory, an English teacher at the high school, said that the half days “make it difficult for parents with elementary-aged children in terms of picking them up.”

Half days were extended this year, according to school psychologist Mrs. Costello,  to conform to a law that requires that “Massachusetts public high schools must incorporate 990 hours of instruction time for students.” Given the law, this new time implement is permanent for the foreseeable future. Decisions regarding half days are overseen by the Assistant Superintendent who is, as explained by AEA President Mrs. Costello, “advised by a committee of teachers and parents.”

Half days occur as “the district wishes to provide an opportunity for staff development and training.” The additional time is used for workshops and various events for teachers.

What must be considered is that on top of release times, the superintendent must also “consider bus routes for children from preschool to grade 12” which, according to Mrs. Costello,  is bound to be problematic. To prepare, there was initial outreach to parents to help facilitate any planning they may need to do.

By Elizabeth Barnardin