• This letter to the editor was published in the Centre Daily Times Sept. 19, 2017. 

    As shown by the State High referendum in 2014, our community places a premium on education. Overwhelmingly, voters approved a new high school that will serve students well for decades to come.

    Reflecting local values, the State College Area School District is considering a change that would be even more vital for students.

    We’re proposing to extend our shorter-than-average elementary school day by 44 minutes, and to begin the middle and high school days 30 minutes later while keeping their overall length. Starting in the fall of 2018, both would improve school experiences and enhance learning for all students, reinforcing our daily commitment to helping them develop and preparing them for lifelong success.

    For example, we’re adding time for core elementary subjects — not to increase the material taught but to provide more opportunities with our present curricula for enriched learning and responsive teaching. The proposal also incorporates a fifth specials period, as well as additional teacher planning time for collaborating on innovative lessons.

    At secondary schools, starting later would meet teenagers’ research-documented sleep needs, allowing for healthier, alert students able to learn fully.

    We appreciate our teachers formally approving a contract change that endorsed our proposal. Information meetings are coming up — Sept. 19 at Park Forest Middle School and Sept. 27 at Mount Nittany Middle School, each at 7 p.m. — and we welcome public comment. The bottom line: We believe this change would support our community’s desire for all students to learn, grow and thrive.

    Bob O'Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools

Last Modified on September 20, 2017