25 minutes: enough time for class?

Students leaving school after their 3 ½ hour day. “The first half day was definitely different, but I thought that the way that we used the shortened amount of time worked out pretty well.” McCarthy said. Many students like McCarthy reacted well to half days, accepting them as a monthly occurrence.

Students leave school after their 3 ½ hour day. “The first half day was definitely different, but I thought that the way that we used the shortened amount of time worked out pretty well,” Martie McCarthy said. Many students like McCarthy reacted well to half days, accepting them as a monthly occurrence.

Professional Development for Oakwood’s teaching staff has had a large impact on the student body. This year, the school has made these days more frequent with the implementation of half days.

On a half day, after the regular schedule lunch bell rings and students leave school for the afternoon, all teachers have to stay and participate in Professional Development or “PD” days.

Within the 2015-2016 school year, there will be eight different days in which students are released at 11:43, rather than 3:15. For the rest of the day, while students get the afternoon off, and teachers stay at school for PD work shops.

Half days are about three and a half hours long, giving all seven classes for the day about 25 minutes to either take a quiz, do a mini lesson, or maybe even do a activity their teacher has planned.

Many students wondered how these half-days would play out, and on September 25, students experienced them first hand.

My classes were much more productive than I thought they would have been originally. We accomplished what we needed to in each class, and they really didn’t seem much shorter than usual,” Martie McCarthy (10), said.

Teachers did what they could to fit the needed criteria in for the day.

“I think that it depends on the teacher on how much work gets done but I’d say that a decent amount of work gets done in each class,” Ben Miller (11), said.

Most students don’t know what PD days are, much less what occurs during them. During PD days, teachers go through various workshops in order to learn and grow as educators.

We’ll do a variety of different activities, but this year a big focus for our professional development activities is going to be focused on response to intervention, and its basically a model for teachers to make sure that we’re providing all of our students with what they need to be successful,” Paul Waller, principal, said.

These activities help teachers develop new techniques as well as foster their old ones for the benefit of their students.

“It’s important to take the time to get better, and unfortunately sometimes that means taking away from some of the time we’d like to be in the classroom,” Waller said.

Even though half days take time away from classes, Oakwood administrators believe that they are ultimately beneficial.

Board member Sam Davis said, “In order to foster the best learning environment possible, our teachers and staff must continue to be “lifelong learners” in regard to their craft.  Likewise, the collaboration opportunities spurred by professional development days add depth to staff relationships and foster new ideas in the classroom.  In short, no PD, no growth.”

By: Hollis Couch

couch.hollis@oakwoodschools,org

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