OUSD Minimum Days Schedule

I'm going through the elementary application process right now at OUSD and was surprised to see every Wednesday at our preferred school is a "minimum day." Are these days because of lack of funding or some other logistical/pedagogical reason? Does this go through middle and high school? How do people fill the days? Am I right to assume private schools don't have minimum days in the same way? - Confused parent who grew up elsewhere.

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RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

We have direct experience with 2 OUSD elementary schools. It is our understanding that all OUSD schools have minimum days on Wednesdays. The exact time of when school ends depends on each school’s bell schedule. We have friends at OUSD middle schools and they have shorter days on Wednesdays as well. We have friends at Oakland Tech and Wednesdays are shorter for high school, too.

I don’t know the reason but my guess is funding related? I grew up elsewhere and had never heard of minimum days until my child began attending school in Oakland. 

We are now at a small private school in Oakland. They, too, have shorter days on Wednesdays but the release time is later than OUSD release time.

Before the pandemic, we always used aftercare and babysitters so minimum days didn’t impact our pick up time. At the current private school, we also use aftercare so that our pick up schedule is consistent.

For people who don’t use aftercare, I see many people using Wednesdays for enrichment activities or after school play dates. 

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

Wednesdays are minimum days to allow staff meetings and professional development workshops.

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

Those are professional development days for teachers, and every OUSD school is required to have them. Teachers participate in either school-based or districtwide learning and staff meetings during that time. At the elementary level, afterschool programs typically cover that time for kids so it doesn't affect pickup schedules.

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

Yes, all OUSD schools have minimum days on Wednesdays. I believe it’s used for staff meetings and other school business. If you use aftercare, all the aftercare programs begin when school ends, including on Weds, meaning there is no gap in care. If you don’t use aftercare you’ll have to figure out what do do with your kiddo during that time, like every other day.

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

I am a long time educator.  Most schools in most districts do this.  It is to provide professional development and planning time for the teachers.  This is when teachers at a grade level collaborate to improve their lessons, plan projects together, work with the special education teachers to support specific students and other such joint planning.  It is also when they get training in things like a new reading curriculum, how to support students who don't speak English, how to respond to students who seem to be having mental health issues, how to build positive classroom environments etc etc.  It is particularly important because new teachers are continually joining staffs and otherwise they are inventing everything on their own.  One of the things that marks schools with a great environment and strong academics is good professional support on these days.  In fact when I look at schools for my own family members I ask about this time and how they spend it.  If they don't have it or if they use it for "business" (scheduling field trips, figuring out recess time or fire drills, etc) or individual teacher planning time I see that as a red flag.

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

OUSD teacher here. One day a week minimum days are a pretty standard part of public school. At least in California. I have never worked at a school that doesn't have a minimum day one day a week. It's not due to budgeting but gives much-needed planning and meeting time for teachers. All public schools offer aftercare services and depending on the school they are free or you pay a fee. 

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

The minimum days happen district-wide, and it’s for a pedagogical reason. Teachers are contractually entitled to have two prep periods a week. Schools learned a while back that if they give all teachers at least one prep period at the same time, the teachers can use that time for collaboration. So, for example, at my kids’ OUSD elementary school, the kids get out one hour early on Wednesdays, and the teachers use that time for grade level meetings (so all 3rd grade teachers have an hour to check in, work on projects together, etc.) Although it’s called a “minimum day,” it’s just one hour shorter. I don’t know of any schools where it dramatically shortens the school day. If your kid’s school has an aftercare program, they just have an extra hour of aftercare that day.
 

For what it’s worth, I also have a kid in private school, and they have a weekly minimum day too. I’m pretty sure just about everyone does. 

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

This is not just OUSD. It is now common practice among most, if not all, school districts in California to have one minimum day per week, often Wednesdays. I don't recall having minimum days as a child either, but it is now implemented in my home school district as well. All the school districts that I know of in the Bay Area do this as well. The districts usually use the extra time for professional development and staff meetings.

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

The minimum days are not funding related. It is based on the contract each teachers union has with their district. Teachers are only contracted to teach a certain amount of hours each year. I know this wasn't something most people grew up with but every district in CA and all the private schools we have toured/attended have minimum days. What day it is varies but I believe most public schools around here do early dismissal Wednesday. Our son had late start Fridays at his private school last year. School provided afterschool care is great for minimum days and also for conference weeks where the kids get early dismissal for a week and a half. 

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

This is pretty standard for school districts -- the minimum day allows for teacher meetings, professional development, parent meetings, etc.

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

It’s the norm pretty much everywhere now, even in private school. My friend has kids in private and they have a Friday early release. At Berkeley High, they have a Monday late start. At the middle schools and elementary schools in Berkeley it’s an early release on Wednesdays. It’s not a funding issue. It’s for teacher prep, meetings etc. it was never a thing when I was in school, but it has been at least for 18 years (the age of my oldest kid). 

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

Wednesdays have always been minimum days for students

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

It's very very common in districts around here. I was a teacher in OUSD and it is for teacher collaboration and planning. Not at all unique to Oakland.

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

I think most if not all districts have a minimum day Wednesday. I know that elementary schools in BUSD, WWCUSD and Albany Unified do. The middle and high schools also have one shorter day a week but not necessarily Wednesday. Some private schools have minimum days as well. I don’t believe it’s due to budget because teachers attend all school meetings and trainings during this time. It’s not time off for them and it’s been this way for decades here. However 1/2 day kindergarten is linked to budget issues. 
 

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

Wednesday afternoons are for staff meetings. Teachers and administrators deserve to be paid for those hours too, so school ends earlier one day a week to allow time for meetings, trainings, etc. (basically all the things that need to happen without kids in their classrooms). 

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

Our OUSD school also has minimum days on Wednesdays (and a variety of other times scattered throughout the year) and I think most do. I don't think it's funding related as I'm not sure how it would save them money. I think it's so teachers and other staff can have meetings, plan and do paper work (which is a substantial burden). When we've had IEP and 504 meetings they're often scheduled during that time. I work part time so I just pick my kids up, but aftercare starts earlier those days and so if you're using that it doesn't impact your schedule. Otherwise, whatever sitter or neighbor or whoever who's usually getting your kid at 3 will need to pick them up at the minimum day time.

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

Minimum days are teacher prep days. Not unique to Oakland. Quite common in other parts of the country.

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

Minimum days are used for teacher professional development and/or planning time for teachers. 

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

I'm turning 40 this year and we had Wednesday minimum days in my Chicago-area elementary school when I was a kid...

RE: OUSD Minimum Days Schedule ()

Bay Area kid here.  I grew up allll over the Bay Area mostly in the East Bay and I'm 40...something.  We even had minimum days when I was a kid!  Back in the olden/dinosaur days (the 80s!!!!).  Always on Wednesdays.  It's for teacher prep or professional development...it's a good thing.