Deer Valley Unified School District considering late-start/early release days for teacher development

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The Deer Valley Unified School District is looking at the possibility of implementing weekly late-start or early release days to give its teachers “the professional learning time they need to develop instructional strategies to reach all learners.”

“We are in the early stages of considering this proposal, where students would either arrive and start school late or leave school early one day each week,” according to a Facebook post. “If deployed, this professional learning time will replace the current Friday half-day early release time.”

The district has set up an online survey to gather information from parents.

“By carving out precious time for teachers, creating mutual accountability for how time is utilized, and implementing new curriculum and instructional practices developed during this time, communities create possibilities for increasing student achievement and expectations,” according to that survey page.

School districts throughout the county use the late-start/early release model to build in learning and professional development time for teachers during their regular work hours. In order to maintain the minimum required instructional minutes, some schools have had to lengthen their regular-release days by just a few minutes – less than 10 in most instances.

“At its core, professional learning is the key component to improving educator practice and providing new perspectives on an ever-changing profession,” according to a 2015 blog post on, the website of the George Lucas Educational Foundation. 

The Deer Valley Unified School District is comprised of five high schools, three middle schools, one alternative school, 15 K-6 schools and 14 K-8 schools in Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria, Anthem and New River.

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