Early Release Wednesdays
Beginning with School Year 2024–2025, every Wednesday during the school year will be an early release day.
Early release times on Wednesdays will be as follows:
- Prekindergarten: 12:00 p.m.
- Grades K–8 (except Next Wave): 1:00 p.m.
- Next Wave/Full Circle: 12:10 p.m. (no change from current schedule)
- Somerville High School: 1:34 p.m. (no change from current schedule)
In addition, instructional start time each school day will shift from 8:25 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. While this does not change the time students arrive at school each morning, teaching and learning will begin five minutes earlier during the school day.
Following the adoption of a Common Planning Time proposal, presented by the district and the Somerville Educators Union and approved by the School Committee in spring 2023, beginning with School Year 2024–2025, every Wednesday during the school year will be an early release day. Common Planning Time (CPT) is a practice where districts utilize contractual hours for educators to develop a consistent, structured time for planning and educator collaboration across all grades, departments, and schools. Currently, educators have two hours of dedicated, individual planning time on 13 Wednesdays during the school year. Through Common Planning Time, educators across the district will engage in both individual and collaborative planning for each grade level.
By implementing Common Planning Time, the district expects to see critical improvements for our students including an increase in student learning, as measured by formative and summative assessments, more inclusive practices across departments, including General Education, Special Education, and Multilingual Learners, more effective and data-driven instructional practices, better implementation of core curriculum, more educator leadership opportunities, and increased educator retention.
HOW WILL EARLY RELEASE WEDNESDAYS IMPACT MY STUDENT?
School will be dismissed early EVERY WEDNESDAY beginning in September 2024.
Beginning in September 2024, every Wednesday during the school year will be an early release day. Some schools, like SHS and Next Wave/Full Circle, already have early release days on all Wednesdays. Those schedules will not change. For all other PK–8 schools, early release times every Wednesday during the school year will be as follows:
- Prekindergarten: 12:00 p.m.
- Grades K–8 (except Next Wave Middle School): 1:00 p.m.
Next Wave/Full Circle and SHS will continue with their existing Wednesday dismissal schedules:
- Next Wave/Full Circle: 12:10 p.m.
- Somerville High School: 1:34 p.m.
Instructional start time in classrooms will shift to 8:20 a.m. every day.
To retain as much instructional time as possible, instructional start time in classrooms will shift from 8:25 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. every school day. While this does not change the time students arrive at school each morning, teaching and learning will begin five minutes earlier during the school day.
In total, implementing Common Planning Time in SPS will result in a 1.1% decrease in total instructional time for students – or a total of 10 hours – over the course of the entire school year. However, districts that have previously adopted Common Planning Time have seen that dedicated, district-wide planning time for educators can lead to students’ increased academic achievement over time.
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMMING UPDATES
While the district does not anticipate being able to provide after school opportunities for all students on early release days, staff from across SPS departments are working to determine opportunities to expand on existing programs, including expanding opportunities with community partner organizations. Updates will be shared as they become available. As a reminder, annual enrollment for the Community Schools Afterschool Program lottery opens in March. Enrollment is based on weighted lottery, and the program is fee-based. Financial assistance is available for eligible students.
In addition to Community Schools, there are a number of out-of-school time programs offered by community partners in Somerville. Many of these programs – for students of all ages – are listed on the Somerville Hub Connect website: https://connect.somervillehub.org.
About Common Planning Time
The purpose of Common Planning Time is to provide educators with a consistent, structured time for planning and to allow for educator collaboration across all grades, departments, and schools during contractual hours (early release Wednesdays). Using Common Planning Time, educators will work on improving lesson quality, instructional effectiveness, co-teaching practices, and student achievement. Currently, educators have two hours of dedicated, individual planning time on 13 Wednesdays during the school year. Through Common Planning Time, educators across the district will engage in both individual and collaborative planning for each grade level.
By providing dedicated time for educators to work collaboratively and consistently in individual, school-based, and district-wide planning time events, school districts – like SPS – have found that this practice increases academic achievement by ensuring that all students across the district have access to the same high quality instruction within each grade level. The more time teachers spend working together, the more expertise they implement in the workplace. Giving educators time to prepare and opportunities to hone their craft leads to better teaching and improved student outcomes.
Through CPT, educators have the opportunity to discuss samples of student work with peers and mentors, share observations that demonstrate mastery and suggestions for how lessons might be modified to further learning, engage in curriculum planning by content area and grade level, audit lesson plans to identify alignment to standards and develop interdisciplinary units, identify academic and social-emotional interventions for students in need of additional support, share ideas, best practices, and feedback related to assignments, lessons, and resources, and streamline communication between teachers and administrators and other district staff who support students.
With the implementation of CPT, we expect to see:
- more effective, data-driven instructional practices.
- better implementation of core curriculum.
- increases in student learning as measured by formative and summative assessments.
- an expansion of inclusive practices across departments.
Materials and Information
- CPT Presentation to School Committee on 2/27/2023: Video Recording
- CPT Presentation to School Committee on 2/27/2023: Slideshow Presentation
- CPT Memorandum
Joint Study Team Members
- Dr. Jessica Boston Davis, Interim Assistant Superintendent of Academics
- Rami Bridge, President SEU (as of SY 2022–2023)
- Caitlin Donaldson, Kindergarten Teacher, Winter Hill
- Chris Glynn, Director of Educator Development
- Courtney Gosselin, Principal, Winter Hill
- Alex Hershey, ELA Coach, East Somerville and Argenziano
- Kathy Kumar, PK Paraprofessional, Capuano
- Kathleen Seward, Coordinator of K–8 Science and Social Studies Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
- Dayshawn Simmons, Social Studies Teacher, Kennedy
- Glenda Soto, Principal, Argenziano School