Early-out Wednesdays start the first week for Modesto City Schools

Modesto City Schools has added 15 early-out Wednesdays to its 2014-15 calendar to give teachers time to meet. The first is Aug. 13, the third day of school.

These collaboration days will follow the minimum-day schedule and apply across elementary, junior high and high schools. Download the updated calendar at

The early days will give teachers time for hourlong collaboration sessions, “including discussion of effective instructional strategies, curriculum planning and lesson development, data analysis and formative assessments, or items related to site goals,” according to a district press release.

“I am excited we are able to invest in our teachers and our students with the new collaboration days,” said Superintendent Pam Able. “The time dedicated for teacher collaboration will multiply our students’ success.”

Many districts have added teacher collaboration time through school-day cuts or extra programs. Turlock Unified will expand its tradition of early-out Wednesdays at elementary schools to junior high and high schools this year. Newman-Crows Landing Unified has added an elementary physical-education teacher who rotates across grades and schools, giving teachers an hour a week to meet.

The urgency for teachers to work together comes with the switch to Common Core State Standards teaching and testing this year. Teachers nationwide have taken the lead in developing lessons, sharing materials and advice on union-supported forums.