After extensive research and patron input, USD 231 will implement an early release schedule for our students. On most Wednesdays during the school year, students will be released from school approximately 90 minutes earlier than their usual dismissal time. We believe this change will provide many benefits for both our teachers and our students.

For our teachers, early release days will provide valuable time for professional development and collaboration. We know that our teachers work hard to provide the best possible education for our students, and early release days will give them the opportunity to focus on their own learning and development.

In addition, early release days will also give our teachers time to prepare engaging and interactive lessons that will benefit our students in the long run. By having more time to collaborate, our teachers will be able to create lessons that are tailored to the specific needs of each student, and that will help them to excel academically.

For our students, early release days will provide a much-needed break from the rigors of the school day. They will have an extra 90 minutes to pursue their interests, spend time with friends and family, or simply relax and recharge. We believe this extra time will help our students be more focused, engaged, and productive in their studies.

We understand that early release days may require some adjustments to your schedules, and we want to assure you that we are here to answer your questions.

We believe that early release days will be a positive change for our school community, and we thank you for your support.

From the Newfoundland Department of Education: "Collective efficacy refers to the shared belief that through their collective action, educators can influence student outcomes and increase achievement for all students (Donohoo 2017). Research indicates that collective efficacy is the NUMBER ONE factor influencing student achievement, three times larger than such factors as socioeconomic status, home environment, and parental involvement and twice that of prior achievement (Donohoo, Hattie, and Eells 2018).

Collective efficacy, however, is more than simply a belief that teachers can make a difference. Rather, it is the combined belief that the teachers cause the learning, combined with the action of working together and fed with the evidence that they are impacting student learning through their actions. It is through teachers reflecting on teaching practice and implementing plans to positively impact student learning that collective efficacy is developed and realized. (Hattie 2018)."

As a result, we have to provide time for teachers to collaborate, reflect on their own practice, analyze data, and discuss how to improve instruction. The Early Release schedule allows for this collaboration and why it is so important to the success of our students.

It will take time for our staff to learn how to utilize this time most effectively.

The benefits of additional collaboration time for staff include:

  • Teacher teams have uninterrupted time for collaborative planning to boost student engagement and academic achievement.

  • Designated time outside the student day (but within the contract day) allows staff from all schools to collaborate.

  • Teacher Professional Development promotes ongoing professional growth – from looking at lesson plans to collaborating on formative assessments.

  • The schedule allows employees to collaborate without needing substitutes and within the regular school budget.

  • Teachers with access to regular collaboration are more likely to try new strategies in the classroom.

HOW WAS PATRON (parents and employees) INPUT OBTAINED?
In January (2023), parents' and employees' feedback related to a Late Start or Early Release schedule was collected. USD 231 received 1,674 responses (1,205 from parents and 469 from employees).

For reference, the District surveyed families and employees regarding the strategic plan in December 2022, and received 1,404 responses (741 from parents, 255 from employees who are also parents of students in the district, 309 from employees, and 99 from patrons).

For comparison purposes, there was a 16% higher response rate on the schedule survey than the strategic plan survey.

Summary of the parent survey results:

  1. 1,205 responses

  2. 65% are in favor of the concept

  3. 66% prefer early release

  4. 54% prefer Wednesdays

The most commonly asked question about the survey results was a desire to see the feedback broken out by grade level.

For reference:

  • High school families who responded - 72% were strongly in favor or in favor (compared to 65% overall) of the concept; 64% supported early release (compared to late start), and 58% indicated Wednesday as the best day.

  • Middle school families who responded - 68% were strongly in favor or in favor (compared to 65% overall) of the concept; 68% supported early release (compared to late start), and 50% indicated Wednesday as the best day.

  • Elementary school families who responded - 61% were strongly in favor or in favor (compared to 65% overall) of the concept; 66% supported early release (compared to late start), and 54% indicated Wednesday as the best day.


September and October 2022
Collaboration regarding Late Start or Early Release schedules takes place with various stakeholders - GENEA, building and district administrators, and Board Members, among others.

January (2023)
Parent and employee feedback was requested via surveys. See results above.

February (2023) Board Meeting
Members of the Educational Services Department presented information related to the proposed Early Release/Late Start schedule options.

The proposal includes the following:

  • Early Release

    • GEHS Dismiss @ 1:30 p.m.

    • Middle Schools Dismiss @ 1:45 p.m.

    • Elementary Schools Dismiss @ 1:55 p.m.

  • Wednesdays

    • Beginning September 13, 2023

    • Ending May 1, 2024

  • Early releases would only occur on “full weeks” of school - 21 Early Release Days Total

How would this impact student instructional time?

  • Reduce full Professional Development Days to 2.5 during the school year (would continue to have New Teacher Academy and 3 half days of PD prior to school beginning)

  • Increase student school days from 166 to 171 days

  • Gain additional instructional time and Professional Development time

  • Maintain current practice of ½ day per quarter teacher work time

To view the slide deck, click HERE.

The Board of Education approves the Early Release schedule to take effect in SY 2023-24.

March (2023) Board Meeting
​Educational Services Department members provided updates on next year's Early Release schedule.

Please reserve March 29, 2023 (7:00 p.m.), for a Community Information night to be held at Gardner Edgerton High School.

To view the slide deck, click HERE.

To view a FAQ about the Early Release schedule, click HERE.

March 29, 2023 - Community Meeting
Superintendent Dr. Brian Huff and directors from the Educational Services Department hosted a Community Meeting open to the public. This meeting was intended to provide an overview of the schedule and answer questions. The event was hosted at Gardner Edgerton High School. After the initial presentation, building administrators were available to answer more school-specific questions.

The view the slide deck, click HERE.

April and May (2023)

Each building hosted a Family Night to provide an overview of the Early Release schedule and answer questions.

Edgerton Elementary
Tuesday, May 2 - 6:00 p.m.

Gardner Elementary
Wednesday, May 3 - 6:30 p.m.

Grand Star Elementary
Monday, April 17 - 6:30 p.m.

Madison Elementary
Monday, May 1 - 6:00 p.m.

Moonlight Elementary
Monday, April 17 - 6:00 p.m.

Nike Elementary
Tuesday, May 2 - 5:30 p.m.

Sunflower Elementary
Tuesday, April 11 - 7:00 p.m.

Pioneer Ridge Middle School
Wednesday, May 3 - 7:00 p.m.

Trail Ridge Middle School
Wednesday, April 19 - 6:00 p.m.

Wheatridge Middle School
Wednesday, April 19 - 6:00 p.m.

Gardner Edgerton High School
Wednesday, May 3 - 5:30 p.m.