My thoughts on the proposed new school start times

15 Jul

clockI’ve been giving some thought recently about discussions the Webster school district has been having about changing our schools’ start times.

I have to admit (rather sheepishly) that I haven’t really been paying very close attention to the process. I didn’t attend any meetings, didn’t follow the reports posted to the district website. Because the main focus seems to be on the secondary schools (based on adolescent sleep needs), I guess I really didn’t think it would affect me much, since I work in elementary.

That was my bad. It will definitely affect a lot of people, and as the blogger I should have followed it all more closely.

But not long ago a Plank North colleague of mine pointed out that the proposed changes will definitely affect us — and every elementary school — as well.

Allow me to back up a bit and fill in some long overdue details.

Based on the results from study groups and a community forum, a recommendation has been placed on the table that the board consider changing the district’s school start times to approximately 8:45 for secondary schools and 7:45 for elementary schools.

My colleague, and others, believe that this radical change in the start time for elementary students (whose school day now starts around 9 a.m.) will pose some challenges, especially with day care, after-school programs, breakfast programs and very early busing concerns.

There’s also some question about how well these young students will be able to adapt to the much earlier time, as they haven’t quite developed the self-management skills to stay focused and engaged that early.

There’s a lot to think about. I don’t know the answer, and I trust that the smart minds who are working on it are considering all the angles. It’s definitely a sticky problem, the solution to which will not make everyone happy. But I hope that the district plans another community forum in the near future, specifically to address some of these concerns from elementary school parents and teachers.

You can find a lot more information about this issue including a video from the June 5 community forum at this link.

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5 Responses to “My thoughts on the proposed new school start times”

  1. WebsterMom July 16, 2018 at 8:14 am #

    I do not believe that there will be any additional community forums. Or if there are, it will only be to inform everyone on what is being put into place. I attended the initial meeting and also attended every break out session. Yes, there are many many factors involved and yes, it will affect everyone in the community. Despite this, I am still on the fence about the entire thing. I imagine there will be a lot of people upset or caught off guard when the change occurs, which it most likely will. It is unfortunate because if everyone had all of the facts at hand and had taken measures to be informed, I think there would be deeper understanding of the issues at hand. But getting angry won’t help or change anything. A lot of people will just have to roll with it and try to figure out arrangements that work best for their family. Not saying it will be easy, but I am hoping that we can rely on each other as a community to help each other out.

    • websterontheweb July 16, 2018 at 8:21 am #

      Well said! You summed up the situation perfectly for many of us.

  2. S. Hansen July 16, 2018 at 1:42 pm #

    I was also wondering how the 4th and 5th grade Activity period would be handled. The elementary schools used to start much earlier and were moved to the 9ish start time to accommodate the before school activity period. Previously the activity period was at the end of the school day, during school hours. The reason given for the move was to provide increased instructional time during the school day for the students. Are they going to provide an additional round of elementary buses after the school day or are they cutting instructional time for 4th and 5th graders to accommodate activity period? My kids are past the elementary years but there will be big changes for everyone in the district when this change happens.

    • websterontheweb July 16, 2018 at 1:46 pm #

      Questions like these are why the district should offer more comment sessions, especially designed for elementary school parents and teachers.

    • WebsterMom July 16, 2018 at 3:34 pm #

      The activity period will move to the end of the day, instead of before school. It was initially discussed to have the activity period moved back to in-school hours, but you can likely imagine the backlash regarding that. And yes, bussing is another huge logistical issue that is being worked out.

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