During the 60-percent school days, students will be released at different times depending on their level.
Those at K-2 schools and at Tupelo High School will dismiss at 11:45 a.m, those in grades 3 to 6 will get out at noon, and Tupelo Middle School students will go at 12:15 p.m.
Early-release days are scheduled for Dec. 8, Jan. 12, Jan. 20, Feb. 9, Feb. 23, March 9, March 30, April 13, April; 27 and May 16. TPSD officials are notifying daycare providers who normally take students to their facilities after school of the early release days and times.
When the students are dismissed, teachers will attend a training from 1 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Tupelo Assistant Superintendent Fred Hill said the additional training is an attempt to improve the district's Academic Watch ranking from the Mississippi Department of Education. Academic Watch is the fourth of seven tiers in the ranking.
"All research shows that you can improve student learning most with effective teaching," said Deputy Superintendent Diana Ezell. "The best way to increase teacher effectiveness is professional development."
The professional development topics will be consistent across the district but modified for grade levels and subjects. It will be led by principals and by members of the district's Department of School Improvement.
Currently, much of teacher's professional development is done during their planning period and once a week after school for about 90 minutes, Hill said.
"This will give them an extended period of time to dig deep into whatever subject they are discussing," Ezell said.
With the early release days, the district will still meet the state's requirement of 27.5 hours of instruction per week, Ezell said.
Several other local districts use early-release days for professional development, including the Lee County School District.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or firstname.lastname@example.org.