• Listen to Dr. Bob O'Donnell's interview about the Student Day Proposal on WPSU's Take Note with Emily Reddy.

    On Dec. 4, the State College Area School District Board of Directors heard an update about the district administration’s student day proposal (View the update here) and the Board took action to approve the proposal during the Dec. 18 meeting.

    The district administration will continue following the Board’s direction to refine the proposal, including:

    • Continuing to develop transportation scenarios with the help of a consultant to create the most efficient bus routes for SCASD students. At the same time, we are working to accommodate charter and non-public schools, which have not agreed to align their schedules to the proposed days. The district is required to transport charter and non-public school students. (View transportation study here)
    • Continuing discussions with elementary music faculty about when music ensembles should take place.
    • Evaluating the possibility of an extra K-2 recess opportunity.
    • Working on alternate athletic scheduling, such as non-conference competitions and multi-team conference competitions on Saturdays, to reduce missed class time for athletes.
    • Planning more online and hybrid high school courses and continuing the zero period option to provide scheduling flexibility for students participating in extracurricular activities.
    • Exploring the cost of mobile hotspots to help provide equitable Internet access for all families.

    The 2018-2019 student day proposal

    Our mission includes preparing students for lifelong success. In that spirit, we are proposing two key elements that will improve learning across our district. Based on community interest, we began exploring a proposal in 2014, drawing on input from a committee of teachers. In April, the Board of Directors received an initial plan to extend the elementary day and begin the secondary day later.

    What — The district is proposing to start the elementary school day earlier, extending it by 44 minutes, and begin the middle and high school days 30 minutes later.

    • Elementary schools: 8:10 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    • Middle schools: 8:40 a.m. - 3:42 p.m.
    • High school: 8:40 a.m. - 3:40 p.m.

    Why — At both the elementary and secondary levels, this proposal aligns with the district’s strategic goals to engage and support the whole student, foster continuous growth for every child, and close individual achievement and opportunity gaps.

    Elementary — With an extended school day, we would enhance student opportunities by adding 24 minutes/day to core learning experiences; more art, library, music, physical education (PE); a fifth special; and an integrated health and wellness curriculum as part of PE. Currently, our schools use the fifth special time differently. Therefore, under the present system, the proposal would add between 14 and 24 minutes dependng on the school schedule. To change this inconsistency, the proposal is for 24 minutes of core instruction daily across the board, making every school schedule the same. Additionally, the proposal calls for a consistent 30-minute recess every day.

    Secondary (grades 6-12) — As sleep research indicates, a later start time would naturally align with teenagers’ body clock, providing a day that better supports their physiological, emotional, social, and academic development.

    Flexible options — We will offer online and hybrid (partial online) courses, as well as continue offering morning zero period courses if students desire.

    Transportation — Ideally, all schools would start at the same time; however, the district cannot run all routes simultaneously without significant cost increases. With this proposal, morning pick-up and afternoon drop-off times will shift according to the new time schedules.

    Summary of Costs

    Recurring Expenses

    Recurring Cost

    Transportation (annual)


    Fifth Special (staffing – $850,000 and curriculum – $50,000)


    Support Staff (including special education and recess supervision)


    Total Estimated Annual Cost



    Non-Recurring Expenses  (first year only)

    Year One Cost

    Transportation (vehicle replacement in excess of proposed budget)


    Curriculum (resources for fifth elementary special)


    Total Estimated One-time Cost


    When — On Oct. 9, the SCASD Board of Directors approved extending discussion of the student day proposal, an update was given to the board on Dec. 4, and the final vote of approval was Dec. 18. The district now begins putting the necessary pieces in place to implement the proposal, such as filling staffing needs and providing professional development for teachers.

    Example elementary schedules

    elementary schedule

    Example secondary schedules

    secondary schedule  

Last Modified on April 9, 2018