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Early release days used for planning, sleep, catching up

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Throughout the school year, Delta County schools occasionally release students from classes three hours early. Students usually take the bus or drive home to use the time for homework or relaxation. However, teachers remain at the school for the after-hours to attend meetings with other teachers from the district. They discuss various issues and attend mini-seminars.

"It gives me a chance to visit with teachers throughout the district who teach in the same content areas. When you're the only teacher in the building who teaches a certain class, it's very beneficial to visit with other teachers and discuss how the content of that area is progressing," Michelle Gillis, an AP language arts teacher at Cedaredge High School, explains. AP teachers especially value the extra planning time, as the fast-paced AP curriculum leaves little time for discussion. For the upcoming early release day, teachers plan to gather in small seminars for each area of study. Cedaredge High School principal Randy Brown discusses the benefit of early release days. "We're currently implementing a new curriculum, and when we get together at a district level, it's a good way to refine that curriculum and improve the product."

Meanwhile, students enjoy a little extra time off. Athletes can get ahead on their homework and overcome their busy practice schedules. Other students use the time to go sledding on the Grand Mesa or drive to a restaurant with friends. Most students, however, use the time to catch up on sleep and recover from another month of hard work. Lydia Knutson explains how she uses the extra three hours to stay on top of her schoolwork during tight athletic seasons. "I usually go home to finish some homework, but then drive to swim practice like usual."

The next early release day will occur Wednesday, Jan. 20, across the district, a blessing for both students and teachers.

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