This group of Crestline third graders that stayed in school for the full day Thursday met with Ms. Kimbrell for a small group study unit.
This group of Crestline third graders that stayed in school for the full day Thursday met with Ms. Kimbrell for a small group study unit.

Archived Story

Early dismissal Thursdays start on high note at CES

Published 1:12pm Friday, August 22, 2014

The school day at Hartselle City Schools ended 90 minutes earlier than usual Thur., Aug. 21, as shortened days on every other Thursday during the 2014-2015 school year took effect.

The early dismissal was well planned and welcomed at Crestline Elementary School with 291 children being dismissed into the care of their parents or guardians after the 1:30 p.m. bell.

The remaining students were assembled in small groups with teachers and spent the rest of the day working on remediation projects.

At the same time, two groups of teachers met in the library for SAMA professional development training on student behavioral issues.

Parents supported the change for the most part when asked for their opinions.

“It works for us,” said Heather Hobby, mother of Rebecca Hobby. “It will make the scheduling of doctor and dentist appointment easier and give us more time together.”

“I love it,” said Kim Hall, mother of Hannah, third grade and Samuel, fifth grade. “It’s a good break for the kids because they get tired before the end of the day. They’ll have more time to ride their bikes and do other things on the farm.”

“Our teachers will use the extra time to work on professional development subjects,” said Principal Robin Varwig. “It will also allow them to look at the curriculum from a vertical perspective and identify ways to reach teaching goals.

“Career cluster lesson plans have been developed by the staff for those students who ride the bus or opt to stay at school for the full day,” Varwig pointed out. “Topics they will be studying include: family and consumer sciences, animal care, music appreciation, cooking and health and hygiene.”

Crestline uses a number and name system to place students in the custody of their parents and guardians after the final bell. Awning posts at the front entrance are numbered one through 10.

Parents have placards printed with the names of their children. If they are parked a distance away from the school, they stand between awnings one through four holding up their placards. If they’re driving in the pickup lane (posts five through 10) they place their placards behind the windshield where they can be easily seen.

Varwig is the traffic cop. She calls out names of students by location as she moves from post to post, and they are simultaneously released from by a teacher into the custody of their parents.

“Before we implemented this system several years we had students roaming in the parking lots looking for their parents,” Varwig pointed. They were putting themselves in harm’s way and we wanted to eliminate that.”

“Early release is new and I took about 22 minutes to empty the driving lane and parking lots today,” she said. “It usually doesn’t take that long.”

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