DES MOINES, Iowa — Early-out Wednesdays have been happening in the Des Moines Public School District for nearly a decade, but that comes to a stop next year.
Early-out was designed to give teachers extra time to plan and train. Instead, students will have a day off about once a month.
DMPS is eliminating early-out Wednesdays with the hope that a full day each month of teacher training and workshops will be more effective than a few hours every week. In addition, a day off each month actually means more time in the books for students.
“Iowa a few years ago went from counting the number of school days to counting the number of school hours you have to have, and so we actually with this adjustment have a little more time for our students in the classroom too which is a good thing as well” said DMPS Communications Director Phil Roeder.
Parents in the district say they still have some questions about the switch but understand the thinking.
“When I first heard about it, I think ‘what’s going to happen with that one day a month for the students, is there going to be childcare available?’ People who live in the city, we gotta have options. Taking a day off work isn’t always a reasonable option for people. At the same time, we want to do what’s best for the teachers, because if we know if it’s best for the teachers, it will be best for the students most likely” said Rich Rosendahl.
The district’s Metro Kids Childcare Program will continue to run during the days off, and the district believes they’ll have their bases covered for students who may be too old for childcare but too young to stay home alone.
“I suspect we’ll see other activities for older students too, whether it’s sports, arts, things like that. All those details aren’t worked out yet, but we always have in the past and I’m sure we will in the future” said Roeder.
Rosendahl, who has a student at Roosevelt says as with any change there will be an adjustment period.
“As a parent, sometimes scheduling and consistency can mean everything. So, whenever there’s a change to that it can be really disruptive until you get back into the new rhythm of whatever it might be” he said.
The district expects to keep this schedule for the next few years but will be able to make any changes after the 2020 school year wraps up.