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Board of Education to vote on late start proposal Mar. 6

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The District 203 school board is scheduled to vote Monday on a recommendation that would bring late starts to its two high schools every Wednesday starting in the 2017-2018 school year.

The proposed late start schedule allows time for PLCs, or Professional Learning Communities, which give staff members time to collaborate and meet regularly. In an interview with The North Star, Superintendent Dan Bridges said PLCs allow teachers to promote student growth and achievement.

“Any time that groups of teachers are coming together to collaborate… is good for student achievement,” Bridges said.

The administration recommended PLCs meet once a week on Wednesday mornings from 7:45 am to 8:45 am. Therefore, school will start for students at 9:00 am every Wednesday.

Credit: BOE Presentation

This proposal allows the First Class schedule to continue once a month. Eight minutes will be lost from every class period on the remaining Wednesdays, and passing periods will be cut to five minutes.

Some faculty have expressed concern over this lost class time. However, NNHS Principal Stephanie Posey believes the time dedicated to PLCs will make up for lost eight minutes.

“We believe that the deliberate and focused use of collaboration time will pay dividends for our students over time,” Posey said at the Feb. 21 Board meeting.

A North Star editorial argued that high school students should have late starts every day for their health. According to Bridges, students’ health and sleep were considered when making this new schedule due to feedback from a recent survey and focus group. However, a daily late start is not currently in the plans.

“With the resources we have available to us, we’re not able to do that on a daily basis and get overall instructional minutes that we need over the course of the week right now,” Bridges said.

An every day late start would also require more buses, and could affect the junior high and elementary school days.

“If [an every day late start] is a possibility, we would look at how it impacts all three levels, what potential costs could be, and we’d bring it to the board for conversation,” Bridges said.

NNHS freshman Lillian Laliberte’s normally rushed mornings would be calmed significantly by the proposed schedule. She also believes some extra sleep could keep students prepared and motivated for the school day.

“I know that if I’ve gotten enough sleep and have all my homework done, then I feel more on top of everything and I personally get a lot done that day,” Laliberte said.

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Board of Education to vote on late start proposal Mar. 6