During the first nine weeks of the 2019-20 school term, elementary school students in the Chapmanville area will start school on a two-hour delay every Wednesday, thanks to a new pilot program approved by the Logan County Board of Education.
Suggested by Marshall University through research, the pilot's goal is to improve and expand teacher and staff instructional development. During those first two hours of school every Wednesday, teachers will meet in "professional learning communities," where they will do things such as examine student achievement from the previous week and look at which students need a re-teach of a lesson to improve achievement.
"We know that research states that it's very important for teachers to collaborate and plan together to better meet the needs of all students," said Logan County Schools Assistant Superintendent Darlene Dingess-Adkins. "We do expect high quality instruction, rigorous lessons, and we want to give our teachers the opportunity to be able to increase their time planning and collaborating."
When the program was first presented, each principal of the county's 18 schools were consulted, and the elementary schools in the Chapmanville area Chapmanville Primary School, Chapmanville Intermediate School and Hugh Dingess Elementary School were the ones who chose to sign on to it initially.
Principals and school staff of those three schools will be required to keep agendas, sign-in sheets and minutes detailing what was accomplished during the two-hour period. During those first nine weeks, the principals will address the LCBOE on staff and student progress, and further discussion will take place on whether to keep the program, as well as the possibility of expanding it to other schools.
The program has been tried out to varying degrees in other areas of the state, including Cabell and Lincoln counties. Several staff members from Chapmanville Intermediate and all from Chapmanville Primary traveled to Huntington to observe the program in action at the pre-K through fifth-grade Explorer Academy.
Each Wednesday, for parents who work at a certain time or otherwise cannot adhere to the different schedule, they can still drop their child off at the school at the regular time of 8:10 a.m. Staff will be on hand to provide instructional activities to those students during the two-hour period.
In the event of a regular countywide two-hour delay, the three schools will adhere to regular protocol.
"If we're on a two-hour delay, they will still just be on a two-hour delay. They won't get a four-hour delay," Dingess-Adkins said.
Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196.