Once a week, students at Greenwood Community High School get out of school early.
As the teens rush home, to work or to after-school clubs and sports, their teachers grab test score data and lesson plans and sit down together. It’s the one time a week where all of the school’s math teachers can go over their lessons together, or where all of the ninth-grade teachers can compare how the freshmen are doing.
School officials believe the extra 30 minutes is helping. The passing rate for Greenwood’s Algebra I end-of-course assessment has risen from 55 percent in 2009 to 89 percent. And the English 10 end-of-course assessment passing rate has risen from 65 percent in 2010 to 89 percent, assistant principal Todd Garrison said.
But the high school also provides additional instruction and homework help for students who need it during the day, so they can’t be sure that releasing students early is what’s truly behind the improvements.
Still, Greenwood has seen enough to expand its early-release days.
Now all of Greenwood’s schools dismiss 30 minutes early, and administrators hope the additional time for planning will mean higher scores in math, English and other core courses for all grades, director of secondary education Rick Ahlgrim said.