As many of you know the school day for the next two school years has been extended from 2:30 until 3:00. Those of you who have looked at the academic calendars for the next two years have seen the change as it was posted along with the new calendars. The faculty and staff are currently developing the strategies that will help us make the best use of the time we have added.
Before we go any further, allow me to share with you our thinking. The state of Tennessee requires that a school day is comprised of six and a half hours. For many years University School has operated with a daily schedule that met this minimum. During those years, more and more has become expected from each school and the pressure to squeeze more from the existing time schedule has become too difficult to deal with and still provide the quality of instruction and support we need to give to our students. After many hours of dialogue, we came to the conclusion that an additional 30 minutes per day would help us to do our jobs better and provide the support and enrichment we need for our students.
Our intention is to build in the additional instructional support and enrichment activities within the regular school day while students are here. This would enable us not to have students stay after school for help but to get it during the regular day. Many of our students are engaged in after school activities like athletics, music and drama and they are unable to get the focused assistance they need. It also allows us to offer very intense support of elementary students in the areas of math and reading without interrupting the normal classroom time. Another advantage that seems to be playing out this winter is that the additional 30 minutes per day alleviates the issue of make-up days for inclement weather. We will no longer have to schedule make-up days on Saturdays and break days because the extended time allows the flexibility to deal with that issue.
The faculty and staff are currently working out the fine details of the usage of the 30 minutes per day and so far a wide variety of support and enrichment activities have been discussed. As the next two months go by we hope to have that in a more manageable form and we will communicate that to you. We are very fortunate at University School to have the creativity and professionalism within our faculty and staff to make a positive adjustment to meet more effectively the ongoing needs of our students. It has been a pleasure working with our folks in planning this needed change.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or thoughts as we progress. As the plan becomes more concrete I will let you know the results. We realize this is just a beginning step in a journey that will take several years before we have it fully developed and we will adjust our plan as we go. Our faculty and staff have worked very hard to do what is in the best interest of the students and we believe that this change will truly help our students.
Thanks for working with us and feel free to stop by at any time. We share a common interest.
Doyle Brinson, Ed. D.
Director, University School