Teachers and administrators remain undecided on how to handle junior high collaboration time.
It came down to a game of beating the clock, and the clock won.
Administrators and teachers for the Lawrence Public Schools couldn't reach a consensus on a recommendation regarding collaboration time by the end of their negotiating session Wednesday.
They will re-examine the issue after hearing what parents, teachers and community members have to say about the topic at a public forum, which is scheduled for May 3.
Marcia Bone, director of human resources, said she met with the school board and it still has questions regarding collaboration time, which is the program that releases students at the elementary and junior high level 90 minutes early each Wednesday.
"The board is still interested in a couple of things before they commit to a recommendation," Bone said. "They need to see more evidence of the outcomes of collaboration time. They want to make sure that collaboration time is worthy of the time it takes to create it."
The board's second concern is the affect collaboration time has had on Lawrence families, Bone said.
"Do the benefits justify what we've had to do with schedules?" she said.
At negotiations last week the teams discussed the possibility of changing collaboration time at the junior high level and instituting it one full day a month or two half days a month, rather than the weekly 90 minutes currently in place.
"The board is not supportive of having junior high collaboration time be different from elementary," Bone said.
Lawrence Education Assn. president Lois Orth-Lopes said that in talking to junior high teachers, the major conflict with collaboration time in its present form is scheduling.
"The junior high issue is tied to other scheduling issues rather than other things," she said. "It's hard for me to get a feel for the staff at the junior high level."
There has been discussion of changing the eight-period day at the junior high level, which would require a shift in collaboration scheduling later on.
"Is it wiser to bite the bullet and keep it the way it is this year, knowing that it's inconvenient for junior high teachers or to say it's a scheduling issue, pull back (eliminate it for one year) and reintroduce it, which in my opinion is a change from year to year?" Orth-Lopes asked.
There was no definitive answer, and neither side could come up with a solution in making a recommendation to the board.
Both sides agreed to send representation to the forum, scheduled for 7 p.m.-9 p.m. May 3 at West Junior High School auditorium. The topic for the forum is devoted to the results of collaboration time one year after it was introduced.
--JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.