The Springdale Public Schools School Board voted 7-0 Tuesday, April 12, 2022, to approve weekly Collaborative Team Meeting professional development time for all district teachers.
Collaborative Team Meetings will be implemented on Wednesdays beginning in August and will allow all district teachers to be part of a Professional Learning Community.
The communities will provide educators with time to work together to focus on student achievement and data that shows which students are progressing academically and which may need additional support.
“A key to student success is fostering great teachers,” said Jared Cleveland, Springdale Public Schools Superintendent. “Teachers thrive in an environment that cultivates a community of learners where individuals can collaborate and try new ideas in a safe and supportive environment.”
Some Springdale Schools teachers have participated in Collaborative Team Meetings in support of district Professional Learning Communities for about eight years.
Once implemented, core elementary school teachers will go from some having approximately 45 minutes a week of Collaborative Team Meeting time to 80 minutes a week. Encore teachers will go from having no collaborative time to having 80 minutes a week. Middle, junior high and high school teachers will go from some teachers having one Collaborative Team Meeting a day and some having no collaborative time to all teachers having 80 minutes of collaborative time a week.
District students will be released early on Wednesdays under the new policy. The district is working with the After School Program to provide extended child care for elementary and middle school students enrolled in the program on Wednesday at no additional cost to families. The district is also working with other after-school care programs. Plans to address transportation and staggered release times are under development.
The student instructional school day will increase by 10 minutes, while the length of teacher contract days won’t change as part of Early Out Wednesdays and the implementation of weekly Collaborative Team Meetings.
The additional 10 minutes will be added to the beginning of the day or the end of the day. Tentatively, elementary students will be in school from 7:45 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. and will be dismissed on Wednesdays at 1:50 p.m. Middle school students will be in school from 8:05 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will be dismissed on Wednesdays at 2:10 p.m. Junior and senior high students will be in school from 8:40 a.m. to 4:05 p.m. and will be dismissed at 2:45 p.m. on Wednesdays. The schedules were determined in response to survey feedback and transportation needs.
The district conducted a survey in March to ask district parents, students and staff if they agreed with implementing Early Out Wednesdays in support of establishing weekly Collaborative Team Meetings for teachers. Out of 3,004 responses, 45.2% strongly agreed, 21.8% strongly disagreed, 14.1% agreed, 7.8% disagreed and 11.1% were neutral with the policy.
Springdale Public Schools is the largest school district in Arkansas with an enrollment of about 22,000 students and approximately 3,000 staff members.