Newington plan would send students home early for training - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Newington plan would send students home early for teacher training

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NEWINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

Starting in 2014, Newington could be ending schools early once a week, which will give teachers extra time to hone their skills.

It's becoming a common practice for school districts and West Hartford has been doing this for decades. 

Right now, the proposal is to end 90 minutes early on Tuesdays.

For parents who worry their kids are going to lose classroom time, officials said it's actually the opposite.

School administrators have worked it out so that over the school year instructional hours stay the same, except at the elementary school level, where there will be more instructional hours.

Daniel Dyson said education is a top priority for his son, who he will be sending to elementary school next year. Dyson said he likes the idea of early dismissal once a week so teachers can get more training.

"I think it'll be a good thing in the long run," Dyson said.

Newington teachers currently get 22 hours of training a year. They're either pulled out of class or have workshops after school, but with common core standards and a higher bar set for science.

Officials said they need more hours. They want to at least double the training and believe the best way is to end school 90 minutes early on Tuesdays.

Superintendent Dr. William Collins said overall they'll be increasing the school day so parents don't have to worry about losing classroom time.

Right now the elementary school has a total of 976 hours. If early dismissal goes through, it would still work out to 1,000.

"I think the kids should be in school a little bit more than they are and I think it's a great thing that teachers are going to be getting further education," Dyson said. "And be able to provide my son and my other son, who my wife is pregnant with now, with a great education."

"We've really wanted to see public education go to the next level for a good number of years and we haven't done anything differently, but we've expected different results," Collins said. "According to Albert Einstein, it's a pretty crazy thing to do."

Parents may also be worried about daycare issues, so Collins said he's working to see if tutors or other after-school activities can start earlier on those Tuesdays.

The board of education will be discussing the matter Wednesday night and most likely there will be a vote at the next meeting.

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