All 5 Shawnee Mission high schools to adopt a late-start schedule Thursdays to provide time for teacher training groups

Shawnee Mission schools may not open this fall if the state legislature fails to meet a Supreme Court deadline on an equitable funding plan.

Starting next month, class will start late at all five Shawnee Mission high schools each Thursday so that teachers have a dedicated time to meet and share what’s working and what isn’t in their classrooms.

The weekly schedule including the Thursday late start, which goes into effect Feb. 9, will look as follows:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Friday: traditional 7 period days, class starts at 7:40 a.m.
  • Wednesday: Odd Block Day, class starts at 7:40 a.m.
  • Thursday: Even Block Day, class starts at 8:50 a.m.

Leigh Anne Neal, the district’s head of communications, said the move comes in response to work the district has been doing to provide teachers with access to “professional learning communities,” formal opportunities “for teachers to collaborate and share best practices.” Teachers will use the time Thursday morning to meet in groups to discuss their classrooms and improve their teaching skills.

Neal said the district has two goals for the professional learning communities:

  • (1) To improve the skills and knowledge of educators through collaborative study, expertise exchange, and professional dialogue, and
  • (2) To improve the educational achievement and success for students through stronger leadership and teaching.

Though classes won’t start until 8:50 a.m. on Thursdays, the high school campuses will still open at their normal times, and the standard bus schedules will still be in effect. The district says that if students arrive on campus before class starts, they will be able to use the time to study in designated areas, have breakfast in the cafeteria, or work with peers on class projects. Teachers will not be available to assist students during that time, however.

The district has developed a web page with answer to frequently asked questions about the new schedule and the professional learning communities.

It also produced an overview video, embedded below, outlining the goals of the professional learning communities: