MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools have eight half-days this school year. Officials say they did that to make room for more teacher training, but it also can put a strain on parents like Joli Madihalli.
“Oh no, what am I going to do? How am I going to take off work to pick my students up in time?” she said of the questions that run through her mind about half-days.
Now she may have an answer: SCS officials announced Wednesday they’re starting a new half-day program where parents can sign up for kids to stay at school a full day, even when they’re supposed to get out early.
Director of Academic support Mendy Gaia said students will get reading and math enrichment.
“We will utilize the certified educational assistants in the building and also substitute teachers,” she said.
But that’s exactly what worries officials with the Memphis Shelby County Education Association, where Madihalli is president and Keith Williams is the executive director.
“Our concern is the quality of the program,” Williams said. “The district’s attempt is noble. They are trying to accommodate students and parents who work. How they do it, we will be yet to see.”
What’s more, they also question if the parents who really need this will be able to find out about it.
“Think about parents who may have a phone whose number is no longer in service, how will they get this message?” Madihalli said.
That’s part of why officials are speaking to WREG, and they also say students will get additional information in school.
District officials want to stress there are a limited number of spots available for each session so you should sign up your student as soon as possible. You can get more information or sign up here.
Bus service will still be available to take students home at the end of the school day on half days. Students who stay for the half-day program will not have buses available.