Dear Winkelman Families,
The 2018-2019 school year is about a month away, and we cannot wait to see all of you! Teachers are working diligently to get their classrooms together and preparing to welcome your children to Winkelman. The School Leadership Team (SLT) is also working hard to prepare for new initiatives that we will be bringing to the building. At our most recent meeting, SLT conducted a deep conversation on how we can increase instructional time for our students. This is directly aligned to the District increasing instructional time via the new 175 full days of school for students in 2018-2019, an increase of three days from past calendars.
In 2017-2018, Winkelman had a total of 29 homerooms. This year we are increasing to 32 homerooms; five Kindergarten, five 1st Grade, six 2nd Grade, five 3rd Grade, five 4th Grade, and six 5th Grade. The increase in homerooms is not due to a large influx of families moving in to the district, but instead is to ensure we stay within our class size guideline per grade level. We are firm believers that the smaller class size is what creates the wholesome learning environment for which both our teachers and students strive. As we prepare our master schedule for the building, we are experiencing some challenges with our school day set at 8:20 am - 2:40 pm and instruction beginning at 8:30 am. With an increase in the number of classrooms, we need to be very thoughtful in how we schedule our time together to ensure all students receive the required number of instructional minutes as well as the required number of co-curricular courses.
Last school year, the school day started with students entering the building at 7:50 am, first bell 8:10 am with a 10 minute grace period to arrive to school, and second bell at 8:20 am. Instruction did not begin until 8:30 am. Starting on Thursday, August 23rd we will be moving forward with the following schedule:
- The first bell will ring at 7:50 am, and the second bell will be at 8:10 am. All students arriving after 8:10 am will be marked tardy and will need to be signed in by a parent/guardian or caretaker in the front office. After 8:10 am, students must be accompanied by an adult when entering the building to ensure they are signed in. Students may not be sent from the parking lot to enter the building on their own when they are tardy.
- 8:10-8:20 am will be used as time for the Pledge of Allegiance, attendance, lunch choices, etc.
- Instruction will begin at 8:20 am. This adds 10 minutes of instructional time instead of the grace period used last school year. 10 minutes x 5 days a week will give students 50 extra minutes of instructional time per week.
Last school year, the school day ended with the first bell at 2:35 pm and the second bell at 2:40 pm. This bell schedule forced teachers to stop instruction at 2:25 pm to pack up and avoid the interruption of the first bell. Starting on Thursday, August 23rd we will be moving forward with the following schedule:
- Instruction will stop at 2:30 pm for all classes, and students will begin to pack up and wrap up for the day.
- One bell will ring at 2:40 pm. This will be the dismissal bell when all students are dismissed with staff working together to walk their grade level to the bus line and car line. This adds 5 minutes of instructional time instead of instruction ending early to avoid the interruption of the 2:35 pm bell. 5 minutes x 5 days a week would give students 25 extra minutes of instructional time per week.
When we add the 50 extra minutes from the changed morning bell schedule to the 25 extra minutes from the changed afternoon bell schedule, this gives students 75 extra minutes of instruction per week while still remaining within teachers’ contractual time.
We appreciate your support in moving forward with this new bell schedule and are excited to be able to service the 32 homerooms within our scheduled school day. It is so important that your children arrive on time to school and are ready to learn each day. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Erica Berger, Principal