A clock ticks in an Upper Arlington High School art room. On three early dismissal days this year, students arrive at 8:05 a.m. as usual but dismiss at 1:30 p.m.

Early dismissal days have decreased in the past nine years

by Sophie Yang, ’19

On Sept. 12, Upper Arlington High School students had one of only 3 early dismissal days scheduled for the 2018-19 school year. Compare this to the 2010-11 school year eight years ago when UA students experienced 6 district-wide early dismissals.

UAHS students who believe they had more early dismissals when they were younger are not wrong: the days of leaving school at 1:15 p.m. for elementary and 1:30 p.m. for middle and high school are rarer than before.

  • 2010-11: 6 dismissals (K-12)
  • 2011-12: 5 dismissals (K-12)
  • 2012-13: 5 dismissals (K-12)
  • 2013-14: 5 dismissals (K-12)
  • 2014-15: 4 dismissals (K-12)
  • 2015-16: 5 dismissals (K-12)
  • 2016-17: 3 dismissals (K-12) and 2 dismissals (elementary only)
  • 2017-18: 1 dismissal (K-12) and 1 dismissal (elementary only)
  • 2018-19: 2 dismissals (K-12) and 1 dismissal (elementary only)

This year, the early dismissals scheduled for UAHS are Sept. 12, Feb. 27 and May 24, the last day of school.

Early dismissal days are usually used for teachers to receive professional development.

“Each year, the district determines a focus for professional development,” said Kathleen Jenney, Associate Superintendent of Upper Arlington City Schools. “Last year, the focus was on literacy. This year [for grades 6-12], the focus is on Professional Learning Communities and curriculum maps.”

When students returned home early on Sept. 12, teachers participated in activities based on their school and subject area. While elementary teachers became familiar with new math materials the district purchased, middle school teachers discussed topics like “advisory periods,” Jones and Hastings middle schools’ version of homerooms. High school teachers met in ‘Professional Learning Communities’ with other teachers of the same subject and shared learning strategies for students.

According to Jenney, early dismissals have decreased as a result of convenience for parents who have to pick up and watch their children.

“We greatly value the professional learning time provided by early dismissals, but we also know these can be inconvenient for families. We felt that moving to two [this year for UAHS] provided a more appropriate balance to the calendar,” Jenney said.