Friday, August 24, 2012

Providence Public Schools 2012-2013 start and stop times

Equally useful and intriguing, here's the full schedule of Providence Public Schools' start and end times for 2012-2013, which the district posted on its Facebook page yesterday and made available on its website as well in PDF form; click here to access it in English, here in Spanish. The version below is small and hard to read, so go download the PPSD PDFs and follow along.

The utility of this is obvious, as is the intrigue once you take a look at the middle schools. I'd love to know what's behind the "later" start at all but Gilbert Stuart? For that matter, what's with the 8:04 start all of the other days? 

Presumably, this is happening in some attempt to handle 144 extra minutes per year (an extra minute a day for 4/5 of a 180 day school year). Why? I'd love to know. I suppose it doesn't really matter how that additional 2 hours and 24 minutes will be used. Parsed out as one minute per day, that time won't have any meaningful impact for most teachers and students.

With all that deserves inquiry, conversation, and energy within PPSD, this is low on the list. But it is odd.

More interesting is the longer days at some school, which strikes me as sensible. Every school should be different to accommodate its plans and goals, and I want to interpret the variety of schedules as a sign that the district is pulling back from insisting on lock-step scheduling for all and allowing flexibility, and that the PTU is in support of the same. It seems like every varied schedule will have its own story and process.

I look at the Roger Williams Middle School schedule, which creates a longer school day 4 days a week and then an earlier release time on Tuesdays, as an indication that faculty are meeting and working on Tuesday afternoons. I'll be interested to hear whether people interpret that as early release (which it isn't - kids aren't losing instructional time as was the case several years ago when middle schools released early so that faculty could meet) and/or feel inconvenienced by this. Presumably community partners who run afterschool programs will adjust.

As for my own middle school kid, who's entering seventh grade at Nathan Bishop, I hope he doesn't see this. We happen to live across the street from the school, and it takes him just about a minute to get there, and I believe that he thinks that school starts at 8:00. He's a very letter of the law guy who often is responsible for getting himself to school on time without a huge amount of parental nudging. So he gets there "on time" which really means he has a few minutes to hang with friends and deal with whatever 12 year old boys need to deal with. If he knew that school really started at 8:06 (except Tuesdays!), he'd act on that and luxuriate in his perceived extra time at home reading the heck out of the sports section or staring into space (when I catch sight of him, these appear to be his primary morning activities). So if you see him, keep this whole schedule thing under your hat, okay? Thanks so much.

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