Winters elementary schools begins early release Fridays this fall

Last year Shirley Rominger Intermediate School students received distance learning kits. This school year they’ll be going back to school in person. Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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Waggoner Elementary and Shirley Rominger Intermediate schools will be launching the early release Fridays for the 2021-2022 school year. The Winters Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees originally approved the school site bell schedule changes for the 2020-2021 school year. However, the COVID pandemic school site shutdowns and distance learning plans interrupted the plans. In 2019, then Superintendent Todd Cutler tasked the site administrators to work with their staff to create a three-year instructional plan around a site-specific focus. Rominger staff selected “Differentiation” as their three year focus, and Waggoner staff is working on implementing Literacy Systems for Assessment and Data. Using the Winters High School late start schedule as a model, the elementary school administrators began to look at creating a similar opportunity to provide their staff more time to work on collaborating on their site plans. They determined a late start option is not a possibility, due to child care and the after-school program for the younger students so they opted for two early release Fridays a month for collaboration at Waggoner and Rominger. Rominger Principal Monica Moreno said the rationale behind the minimum Friday is for teachers to collaborate and plan with their grade level, across grade levels and schools. “This will give the sites additional time to work on Single Focus Plans,” Moreno said. “The high school already has this time for their PLCs (professional learning community) with their late start on Fridays.” The two designated Early Release Fridays will be aligned at both school sites. This is in addition to the current minimum day schedule on Wednesdays. The following changes were made to each school site’s bell schedule to ensure the state instructional minutes requirements are still met: Waggoner Elementary: On minimum days all grades will begin at 8:15 a.m. On both the Wednesday and Early Release Friday minimum days all Transitional Kindergarten students will attend during the AM session for an “All Together Day.” TK and Kindergarten students will be dismissed at 12:15 p.m. and first and second grades will be dismissed at 1:05 p.m. Rominger Intermediate: On both the Wednesday and Early Release Friday minimum days all grades will begin at 8:20 a.m. and will be dismissed at 1:20 p.m. A list of the specific Friday early release dates is available at each of the Winters elementary school sites.

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