Center Point-Urbana Schools will dismiss students early to help teachers

Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 8:05 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Center Point-Urbana Schools will dismiss students at 12:45 p.m. every Friday until further notice starting December 18.

In a letter to parents, the district said its’ decision will give teachers more time to prepare lessons online and in-person.

Mike Beranek, who is a teacher for the past 30 years in West Des Moines and president of the Iowa State Education Association, applauded this decision and said it will help teachers from being overworked.

“When I was teaching 3rd Grade for 30 years, I would work on the weekends and past four o’clock almost everyday,” he said. I would get to school at least two hours before the day started to make sure I had myself ready. So during a normal circumstance, I was working past my contracted hours.”

He said teachers are now spending more time preparing online classes and learning skills. Beranek said some teachers are working 12 to 15 hours days along with weekends.

Jennifer Austin, who is a parent for the district, said she’s seen the hardships teachers are having first-hand.

“Many of them are spending their evenings and weekends working on things, she said. “And they have lives and they have children.”

Austin said she supports the district in making the decision.

“If they get these Friday afternoons, for a couple of hours, to work on stuff,” she said. “I think it’s good for everybody.”

Other school districts like Cedar Rapids Community School District and Dubuque adjust their schedules on Fridays too. But, those involve professional development rather than prep time for teaching.

TV9 reached out to CPU Superintendent Matt Berninghaus for more information about the change but didn’t hear back by the time of publication.

TV9 also contacted Iowa City and Waterloo schools, who say they don’t plan to let out early on Fridays. That’s because those districts don’t have the same teachers preparing for both online and in-person classes.

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