Student Day Plans for 2018-2019 — Questions and Answers
The student day proposal was approved by the Board of Directors on Dec. 18, 2017 and will start in the fall of 2018. This document is intended to provide information on how the student day change will impact students and families at all levels. We will keep you updated as additional information becomes available.
Q: What is the time schedule for next year?
A: Below are the school day times:
- Elementary schools: 8:10 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
- Middle schools: 8:40 a.m. - 3:40 p.m.
- High school: 8:40 a.m. - 3:40 p.m.
Q: Why aren’t the elementary and secondary days aligned?
A: Transportation is the reason. Having staggered start times enables us to use the same buses for elementary and secondary schools. Busing all students at the same time would require additional vehicles and drivers, making it prohibitively expensive.
Q: When will bus routes be published for 2018-19?
A: Bus routes will be available this summer through the Parent Portal/HAC. We will notify families when they are available.
Q: Are students going to be on buses longer?
A: No. The time students spend on buses will remain comparable with 2017-18 times.
Q: What does student arrival and dismissal look like?
A: The day will be as follows:
- Morning drop-off will be from 7:55 to 8:09 a.m.
- The elementary school day will last from 8:10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Buses will depart before 3:10 p.m.
- Specific information regarding dismissal procedures will be provided by the building principal prior to the start of the school year.
Q: How will the additional time for elementary students be used?
A: A K-5 instructional framework provides elementary teachers with guidance on how to use the additional instructional time. The longer school day will enable students to experience the following increased opportunities:
- The new school day will provide students with developmentally appropriate instructional pacing and will allow primary teachers flexibility in implementing structured play and rest time.
- A new K-5 Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) special will include experiences that bring the engineering and technology practices to life for a weekly 50-minute period.
- Monthly lessons delivered by a certified school counselor in each K-5 classroom that focus on the personal development of students.
- An updated health and wellness curriculum, including mental health, taught by a certified health educator, as part of physical education.
- An increase of at least five minutes per day in our specials: STEM, art, music, library, and health and physical education.
- A daily 30-minute recess for K-5 students and an additional 15 minutes of daily recess for K-2 students. This is consistent with our new recess policy for 2018-19.
Q: How does the new day affect intervention services?
A: Students now will be able to receive most intervention services without missing science and social studies.
Q: How does the extended day impact gifted support/learning enrichment for students?
A: The district is currently updating the gifted support/learning enrichment plan for students. A presentation to the Board will occur this spring to provide an update.
Q: Will students at the elementary level receive more homework with the extended day?
A: No. The increased time will not include additional homework. Our Board of Directors adopted a revised K-5 homework policy that goes into effect in 2018-19.
Q: Will half-day kindergarten be an option for my family?
A: Yes. A morning half-day kindergarten option will be available at each school, similar to what is currently offered to families. Families can pick the half-day option during the registration process. At any time during the school year, they can elect to change to the full-day program. More information is available here. Please contact your building principal if interested.
Q: Will music ensembles occur during the extended elementary day?
A: Orchestra and band ensembles will continue to occur before the school day as they do now. The district is continuing to explore the possibility of moving the choir ensemble into the school day. We anticipate an update for parents early next year.
Q: Will there be time in the school day for kindergarten students to engage in developmental play in the classroom?
A: Yes. There will be 20 minutes each day for these opportunities to occur at the teacher’s discretion.
Q: How will specials be scheduled?
A: Art, library, music, health and physical education, and STEM will be offered once a week on a five day cycle so students will no longer miss specials when there is a day off or a snow day.
Q: Who will supervise students at recess?
A: Trained paraprofessional staff will assume this responsibility of supervision. However, primary level teachers will supervise K-2 students during their 15-minute additional recess.
Q: How are teachers affected by the new elementary day?
A: Since there will be more time in the day for instruction, teachers will have additional time for individual planning and collaboration with other faculty via professional learning communities (PLC’s).
Q: Will Community Education Extending Learning (CEEL) be affected?
A: For the before-school program, we are surveying K-4 parents seeking input regarding interest. Additionally, we are surveying fifth-grade parents to explore the option of adding morning CEEL to sixth grade. The survey ends April 16 and once a decision is made, parents will be notified.
The elementary K-5 after-school CEEL program will continue to be offered and will end at 6:00 p.m. Currently, the district is not exploring an after-school program beyond 5th grade.
Q: Where is the district with implementing the STEM curriculum?
A: Our STEM committee is developing curriculum that makes cross-curricular connections with existing math, science, and technology standards. Finally, the committee will identify additional resources to support robotics and coding within the curriculum. The district has advertised for six additional teaching positions to support the implementation of STEM for next year.
Q: What is the process and timeline to develop the comprehensive counseling curriculum and to identify a resource for next year?
A: The district is developing a K-5 counseling curriculum that includes social-emotional learning, anti-bullying programs, and student safety lessons. To implement this program, the district is proposing to have a counselor at each elementary school for the 2018-19 school year.
Q: How are the elementary bus runs impacted by the earlier elementary day?
A: Elementary routes will begin approximately 35 minutes earlier than current routes. Elementary students will likely be on the buses for the same duration as during the 2017-18 school year.
Q: If I have additional questions regarding the elementary student day, who should I call?
A: Please contact the building principal. A directory of building contacts can be found here.
Secondary Student Day
Q: What are the secondary beginning and dismissal times?
- Middle schools: 8:40 a.m. - 3:40 p.m.
- High school: 8:40 a.m. - 3:40 p.m.
Q: If I have questions regarding my child’s schedule for the 2018-19 school year, who should I contact?
A: The school counseling office in the respective secondary schools should be contacted with questions pertaining to a student’s schedules.
- High School Counseling Office, 814-231-1111
- Park Forest Middle School Counseling Office, 814-237-5301
- Mount Nittany Middle School Counseling Office, 814-272-4050
- Delta Counseling Office, 814-231-1000
Q: Why is the later start time beneficial for adolescent students?
A: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that school days for adolescents should not start before 8:30 a.m. due to a shift in their physiology that affects sleep patterns. Leading research indicates that teenagers will have more productive learning in the morning with a later start time.
Q: Is a zero period part of the plan?
A: Yes. We’re offering an array of courses during a morning zero period for high school students. During the coming years, we will review and potentially expand the course options depending on student interest.
Q: What time will the zero period start?
A: The zero period will begin at 7:45 a.m. and end at 8:30 a.m. to provide time for students to get to their period 1 class.
Q: What is the drop off time at the secondary schools?
A: The morning drop-off time will be from 8:00 a.m to 8:39 a.m. at all of our secondary schools (high school, both middle schools, and Delta).
Q: With a later secondary dismissal, will students lose more classroom time for extracurricular activities?
A: Yes, in some cases. To address missed class time, zero period opportunities are being offered during student scheduling this spring. We are adjusting event times to reduce missed class time. Students are encouraged to speak with their school counselors and request course schedule adjustments if the schedule conflicts with their extra-curricular program. In addition, district technology, including 1-to-1 devices and Wifi, provides students an opportunity for completing classwork while traveling to and from events.
Q: How are the secondary bus runs impacted by the later day?
A: Secondary routes will be approximately 40-45 minutes later than current morning pickups.
Q: What time will school buses depart from the secondary schools?
A: Buses should depart from the secondary schools before 3:55 p.m. and drop-offs will be approximately 25 minutes later than current 2017-18 times.
Q: Is busing for zero period available?
A: Bus transportation will be available for students attending zero period classes. Families will be contacted prior to the start of the next school year about student transportation needs for zero period classes.
If you have questions or comments you would like to direct to the district please e-mail us.