Iowa law mandates a minimum of 180 days or 1,080 hours of instruction per year.  Those hours can be split up differently based on what each district thinks is best for their students.

One school district is changing how students spend their day to get more productivity out of the 1,080 hours a year, and other Iowa school districts could follow their lead.

Iowa Teachers Get Professional Learning Time


Iowa school districts set aside time during the school year for "Professional Learning" time.  This can be in the form of early release days, or in-service days which are full days off.

For teachers, it's a day to learn how to teach your child better.  For students, it's a glorious day off or the chance to leave school earlier on a random weekday.

However, one district has looked at those early dismissal days and has made changes for the upcoming school years.

Cedar Rapids Getting Rid Of Early Dismissal Days

Students getting on school bus
Daniel Hurst

As a kid, once you get on that bus you have a school day.  It doesn't matter if it's 4 hours, 6 hours, or 8 hours, you had to get out of your PJs and go to school.  In Cedar Rapids, officials say that the daily attendance rate across the district is 92%. On early out days, that falls to around 90%.  Plus, with officials saying the condensed schedule affects overall learning time, they are making a change.

The new 2024 school calendar will get rid of the early dismissal half days.  Instead, The Gazette reports the new calendar will have 15 days through the school year on either Mondays or Fridays that will be days off.  This will include taking off four days before the first day of school in August and three more days in January.

The change will be watched by other district administrators to see if they should make changes as well.

I, and my child, would welcome more full days off.  Early release days seem to cause problems with attendance and in-school schedules.  I say let them enjoy the full days off, especially in August when Iowa still has nice weather to be outside.

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Old Elementary School Turned into "Old School Pizza"

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Gallery Credit: Bill Stage

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