The State College Area School District is considering changes to the elementary and secondary school days for the 2018-19 year. On April 24, the SCASD Board of Directors approved a contract addendum with the teachers’ association that open the door for planning and discussion.
Working together closely since the fall of 2016, the district administration and a committee of teachers have created a proposal to extend the elementary school day by 54 minutes. At 6 hours, 6 minutes, the current school day is among the shortest in the state. The proposed elementary day would start earlier than the current schedule, at 8 a.m., and dismiss at 3 p.m.
The goals of this initiative are:
- To provide more engaged learning time in core instruction areas (English language arts, math, science, and social studies).
- To allow time for customizing instruction to meet the unique learning needs of every child.
Other benefits of this plan include:
- Addition of a world language class to the existing specials that are offered to students.
- Time for a special area class every day for all students (music, art, physical education/health, library, and in this proposal, a world language).
- At least 30 minutes of recess every day for all students.
At the middle and high school levels, the length of the school day would stay the same, but would shift to a later start at 8:40 a.m. Sleep research indicates that children’s biological sleep patterns shift in adolescence, and the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend middle and high school start times to be no earlier than 8:30 a.m. Later school start times have been shown to improve the academic performance, health, and safety of adolescents.
The district must continue to begin and end the elementary and secondary school days at different times, because the same school buses are needed to transport elementary and secondary students.
At the high school, an early morning “zero” period is being planned to provide more flexible scheduling opportunities for students who participate in sports and other extracurricular activities.
In anticipation of a Board vote in October, community discussion will include forums at each elementary school.
(including morning duty)
8:30 a.m. - 2:50 p.m.
8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
8:10 a.m. - 3:14 p.m.
8:40 a.m. - 3:44 p.m.
8:10 a.m. - 3:16 p.m.
8:40 a.m. - 3:40 p.m.
Elementary school days for other school districts that we frequently reference for comparison:
- Abington School District: 8:50 a.m. - 3:20 p.m. (6 hours, 30 minutes)
- Bellefonte School District: 8:00 a.m. - 2:40 p.m. (6 hours, 40 minutes)
- Cumberland Valley School District: 8:45 a.m. - 3:35 p.m. (6 hours, 50 minutes)
- Lower Merion School District: 9:00 a.m. - 3:35 p.m. (6 hours, 35 minutes)
- North Allegheny School District: 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (6 hours, 30 minutes)
- Parkland School District: 8:50 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (6 hours, 40 minutes)
- Penns Valley Area School District: 8:10 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. (6 hours, 35 minutes)
- Tredyffrin/Easttown School District: 8:45 a.m. - 3:20 p.m. (6 hours, 35 minutes)
- Upper St. Clair 8:15 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. (6 hours 30 minutes)