Teachers get 45 minutes of 'me' time

Medford (School District) recently adopted a calendar for the coming year that combines four and five-day school weeks and lengthens the school day, according to the Mail Tribune. Can you tell us the starting and ending times parents can expect for classes and translate this from the district's Web site: "Because of this redistribution and consolidation of time, elementary schools will reserve the last 45 minutes of each Tuesday and Friday to ensure time each week for uninterrupted teacher lesson planning and preparation." Does that mean elementary students actually will get out of class earlier on Tuesdays and Fridays than previously? Thanks.

— J.C., Medford

Next year's start and end times for Medford public school students won't be finalized until early August, according to Medford schools Superintendent Phil Long.

The district has to coordinate elementary, middle and high school bus transportation before setting the school schedule, which involves discussions with the district's busing contractor, First Student Inc., Long said.

The 45 minutes of uninterrupted teacher preparation time on Tuesdays and Fridays will not affect students' school day in any way. Tuesdays and Fridays will be just as long as Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Rather, teachers will have 45 minutes of prep time after classes have adjourned on Tuesdays and Fridays but during their official work day, Long said.

Each Tuesday and Friday after schools lets out, there will be about 20 minutes when students head to their buses, parents pick them up or students walk home.

"After that 20 minutes is ended, we will be restricting access to elementary teachers so that they have 45 minutes of uninterrupted time to do planning and prepare materials for coming lessons," Long said. "Meetings with parents will not be scheduled during these two blocks of time. Parent-teacher meetings may be scheduled at other times during the week."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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