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Attendance up on early release Fridays in Grandview

GRANDVIEW - Staff Developer for Elementary Schools in Grandview, Rob Roettger, gave a presentation to school board directors Monday night that showed what he believes is a positive increase in a number of areas in the district thanks to early release Fridays.

The district releases its students early on Fridays to allow staff to have time for professional development.

Roettger began by talking about the district's "three-legged stool," which is topped by what the district calls enduring understanding.

Grandview Superintendent Kevin Chase described those understandings as things students should take away from their schooling for the rest of their lives.

Chase gave an example involving George Washington. He said it was more important for students to understand why Washington was chosen as the first president, not that he had wooden teeth.

Roettger also presented information on attendance of both teachers and students on short Friday school days.

He said that in the past school year 96 percent of teachers have been present, meaning they aren't using those days as sick days, and are there to help prepare curriculum and learning activities for students.

Roettger said teachers are also rating the work sessions very highly, with the majority rating them five out of five on the district's rating system.

In the 2004-05 school year, 91 percent of students were present on Fridays. That number has increased this year, Roettger said, noting that more than 94 percent of students are attending school on Fridays now.

Roettger also presented information on tardies at the high school. He said because the day is shortened, there's been the perception that many students may sleep in and show up late knowing they only have a short day of school. During the 2004-05 school year the high school recorded more than 900 first-period tardies.

That number has been cut dramatically this year, however, as the high school has recorded just over 300 tardies on Fridays.

"It's important that we keep this kind of record," Roettger said, noting that in future years the district may look back and wonder how they managed to do things the way they did.

School board director Tim Grow echoed Roettger's sentiments about keeping records on the effectiveness of the professional development days.

"It gives us a format to compare with and look at," Grow said. "And it's a good way to track it."

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