Students might get early release

February 12, 2003 12:00 am

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

A proposal to cut class time by about two hours every Monday starting next month could mean different things for different people in the Mark Twain Union Elementary School District:

For students, more play breaks; for teachers, more study breaks; and for some parents, more headaches.

When the district board meets at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Copperopolis Elementary School gym, trustees will be asked to consider adopting a new minimum-day schedule for the last quarter of this school year and for the next academic year.

Under the new proposal, students would have a minimum day — roughly two-thirds of a regular day of classes — once a week, likely on Mondays.

The proposed schedule would give teachers more time to prepare for classes.

But it could also be a burden to parents of Copperopolis students. Mark Twain Union Elementary School in Angels Camp provides afternoon care for its students via a county program. Copperopolis parents could use the program until this year, but the program ceased in Copper because of a lack of use.

Karen Turner, president of the Parent Teacher Club in Copperopolis, said she has not heard of any organized opposition to the proposed schedule change.

Day care, Turner said, "is going to be the biggest grumble and gripe about it, but I think parents are going to be supportive of it."

Julia Tidball, principal at Copperopolis Elementary School, said she has yet to hear feedback from parents. She hopes people attend tomorrow's meeting to voice their opinions.

"We've been trying to put out notice to see what people are thinking about, and to give them time to find day care for their children," Tidball said.

However, Tidball supports the minimum-day schedule. She said her teaching staff favors it, too.

"We really need more time for teachers to collaborate and do more planning to increase student achievement," she said.

"Even if the students might be getting out of school a little early one day a week, the benefit is going to far outweigh that."

Mark Twain principal Karl Keller said he and his staff also support the proposed schedule changes.