Concerns brew over proposed reduced class time in Beaverton schools

Concerns brew over proposed reduced class time in Beaverton schools »Play Video
Teachers are shown during collaboration time in this still image from a video produced by the Beaverton School District.

BEAVERTON, Ore. – Parents are concerned about a plan to shorten a school day in the financially troubled Beaverton School District.

According to the Beaverton School District, shortening one school day a week will make for better teachers. The district says starting the day 90 minutes late one day a week would allow teachers 90 minutes to improve their craft.

Starting the school day late every Wednesday morning is the leading plan. Teachers would spend that time in face to face meetings with other teachers.

It's called collaboration time. It's where teachers share techniques and ideas about how to best teach individual students. The district thinks it's necessary as Beaverton teachers deal with giant class sizes after the district had to shuffle more than 350 teachers and lay off 200 more.

"I think what's important is we want the best teachers in front of our students and we feel with teachers collaborating that is really a strong team. They can serve the students even more completely,” said district spokeswoman Maureen Wheeler.

A lot of districts do it, but some parents are concerned whether this is the time to implement the change.

"Based on the budget cuts this year, and based on the larger class sizes, I'm concerned about having less classroom time for our kids in school," said Stacie Ayers who is the mother of two elementary students.

She's one of several parents who told KATU News they're concerned this possible change to the school week isn't getting the attention it deserves and is being overshadowed by the budget cuts.

"I would like to see if there's possibly ways to do it without affecting student-teacher time," Ayers said.

Wheeler said teachers just can't get together and collaborate after school because "there is very specific contract language about teacher time."

The district is looking at allowing kids to be dropped off at school at the normal time so it's not a burden on parents.