Beginning on January 7, 2021 all AOS 91 K-8 grades will have an early release on Thursdays for the rest of the 2020-21 school year. The early release was approved by the AOS 91 School Board at their meeting on November 23rd.

Dr. Marc Gousse, the AOS 91 Superintendent sent out the following letter to parents on Tuesday, November 24th.

Dear Parents and Families,
Last evening, the MDIRSS administrative team recommended a weekly early release for K-8 students on Thursdays. The MDIRSS AOS # 91 School Board voted unanimously to approve this recommendation.

In late September, we responded to the community’s desire/Safe Return to School sub committee's recommendation to have students in school 5 full days per week while implementing CDC and MDOE safety guidelines.  We have found, like most districts across the state and country, that substantial time is needed to plan for teaching and learning as implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic for multiple reasons:

  • Students are in pods (smaller numbers with consistent staff) and learning within different constraints which requires more/different planning for instruction;
  • There are changes in staffing (this may look different per building but in many cases, specialists and specials teachers are teaching additional classes) with little time to meet with/get guidance from colleagues, and we have the challenge of meeting the needs of students who are participating in school remote-only as well as in person.
  • We are now facing students out of school for several days due to the need to quarantine, be symptom clear, etc. creating the challenge of supporting continuity of learning for those students.

A weekly early release is not a new concept and is utilized by many high performing school districts throughout the state. MDIRSS schools will be implementing this early release whether in person or remote for the remainder of the current school year. K-8 students will attend school in person for 4.5 days per week and staff will use the half day to ensure that instruction is coherent and of high quality. This supports that we continue contact with students five days per week, can maintain continuity of learning, can provide services, and can make sure students have access to school lunch programs.  A weekly early release will also support the adult educators charged with academic program planning, RTI, and social emotional teaching and learning with students in multiple modes, often at the same time (in school, quarantined or temporarily at home, and learning remote-only (e.g., 8th graders learning virtually, special education and specials support for Virtual Academy students). The weekly early release for MDIRSS K-8 schools will begin on Thursday January 07th, 2020 and remain in place through June for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year.

Additional information will follow in school newsletters and websites; should you have questions regarding this information please contact the building principal. Thank you for your continued support of our students, staff and schools

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