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“Every Minute Counts… from Start to Finish”

08/21/2015 02:44PM ● Published by Aubray Onderik

By Dr. Frank Till, Superintendent ofCumberland County Schools

       In the Cumberland County Schools, we are always looking at barriers to student achievement. This school year, we have redesigned our staff development to be more ‘real time,’ so that we have the capacity to deliver it 24/7. We have also looked at our assessments. We have redesigned them to give us better data and be able to focus our instruction. The final instructional piece is to be more consistent with our standards and have high rigor for all of our students. This is important for all of our students, but it has been called out as criteria for the decisions of the military.

       As we examined our data, we discovered an alarming statistic. We have children that are missing large blocks of instructional time because of tardiness. Some of our children are one hour late every day. Can you imagine the instruction that they are losing and the fact that the literacy block happens in the first hour of the day in most elementary schools? Besides, what are we teaching our children? If school were their job, would they be prepared in the real world with such a record?

       We have decided to launch a campaign to tackle tardiness titled “Every Minute Counts… from Start to Finish.”

       If you miss instruction you are not preparing yourself for the future. How do you learn to read if you don’t attend school during the reading block? How do you use your reading skills to advance yourself if you can’t read at grade level? You can see the ripple effect of not being successful and its relationship to being tardy. For many of our students, not only are they missing the academic time, they don’t get breakfast: the most important meal of the day, which enhances learning.

       Being tardy also impacts others. Research shows that every disruption causes a gap in learning for all students in the class. So, when your child shows up 10 minutes late to their biology class, it disrupts the learning for all students. It also may mean that your student doesn’t pass an important class and will need to remediate to graduate.

       We are concerned about the future of all children. We not only want to give the child the academic skills they need to be successful in life, but we want to give them another important life skill: being on time.

       We will be working with our community partners to bring about a change and I’ve given the schools permission to be stricter on tardiness and students leaving early. Therefore, when you see “Every Minute Counts… from Start to Finish,” we really do have your child’s best interest in mind. We are calling the parents to partner with us to raise the expectations for our students by arriving to school on time and letting them complete the school day. More details will be sent to parents through our school communication system.

          With a curriculum of high standards and students putting quality time into learning, our children will succeed. It is all of our responsibility to make it happen.





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