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Young kids out 1 hour early again

Early-release Wednesdays are back in the Medford School District.

The district announced Friday it would adjourn elementary classes one hour early on Wednesdays to accommodate teachers' request for designated time to prepare for lessons.

"It's mainly a contract issue," said Rich Miles, Medford's elementary education director. "Our elementary teachers have had no time for prep like our secondary teachers have."

Early-release Wednesdays were abolished last fall to beef up instructional time during a shorter school year. But this year, the school calendar will be six days longer.

Secondary schools will start classes late on Wednesdays, the district said.

Elementary schools will adjourn at between 1:20 and 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays, depending on the school (check individual school schedules at www.medford.k12.or.us).

Middle schools will start at 9:20 a.m. Wednesdays instead of 8:45 a.m., and high schools will begin at 9:15 a.m. instead of 8:35 a.m.

Miles said high school would use the late start to hold all-staff meetings and to do planning.

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays will be extended by 15 minutes to make up for the lost time on Wednesdays.

The first day of school is Sept. 7. The school year ends June 10 for a total of 170 days, compared to 164 days last year.

Busing schedules have been adjusted to accommodate the weekly changes, Miles said.

As in the past, the early release is expected to present child-care challenges for some families.

The district, which serves about 12,000 students, offers after-school programs at some elementary schools through its partnerships with Kids Unlimited and the YMCA.

Those after-school programs will be adjusted accordingly.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or e-mail pachen@mailtribune.com.